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Biology (MindTap Course List)

11th Edition
Eldra Solomon + 3 others
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781337392938

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BuyFindarrow_forward

Biology (MindTap Course List)

11th Edition
Eldra Solomon + 3 others
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781337392938
Chapter 12.3, Problem 1C
Textbook Problem
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How did the ability to distinguish old and newly synthesized DNA strands enable Meselson and Stahl to verify that DNA replication is semiconservative?

Summary Introduction

To determine: How did the ability to distinguish old and newly synthesized DNA strands enable Meselson and Stahl to verify that DNA replication is semiconservative.

Introduction: Earlier, it was proposed that DNA replication in an organism could occur in three ways following the semi-conservative, conservative, and dispersive models. These models were tested by Meselson and Stahl. They labeled DNA of E. coli using nitrogen isotopes across generations. After several rounds of replication, he confirmed that the replication of DNA is semi-conservative. It means DNA molecules produced after replication contain one old and one new strand.

Explanation of Solution

Meselson and Stahl separated and identified DNA strands from different generations of E. coli. In the given experiment, E. coli was grown for many generations in a 15N (heavy isotope) medium. After replication, the bacterial cells incorporated 15N into their DNA; that is the nitrogenous bases would be labeled with 15N. These bacteria were then transferred to the 14N (light) medium and they were allowed for two rounds of DNA replication. The DNA was extracted and its density (content of 15N and 14N) was measured by density gradient centrifugation. The result would be two density bands-one intermediate band (15N-14N hybrid) and the one upper band (probably 14N)...

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