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Name: Jessica
Status: Student
Grade:  Other
Location: OH
Country: United States
Date: May 2006


Question:
Why was this Griffith experiment is important to the development of microbial genetics?



Replies:
Griffith was the first scientist to show that a genetic characteristic (a polsaccharide coat) could be transferred from one strain of bacteria to another. He was unable, however, to identify the active ingredient of the bacterial extract. It was Avery, McLeod and McArty who identified the "transforming principle" in 1943. In retrospect, their experiments were worthy of the Nobel prize, but their work was ahead of its time. Although they clearly showed that DNA was the genetic material, scientists at the time thought that protein was the genetic material because of its complexity. Although it was known that chromosomes were partly comprised of DNA, it was though that DNA was too simple a molecule to carry information beause it was made up of only four different components, Adenine, Thymine, Guanine and Cytosine. Wrong!

Ron Baker, Ph.D.



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