Question 7

How did Hershey and Chase differentiate between DNA and protein in their experiment while proving that DNA is the genetic material?


Hershey and Chase worked with bacteriophage and E.coli to prove that DNA is the genetic material. They used different radioactive isotopes to label DNA and protein coat of the bacteriophage.

They grew some bacteriophages on a medium containing radioactive phosphorus (32P) to identify DNA and some on a medium containing radioactive sulphur (35S) to identify protein. Then, these radioactive labelled phages were allowed to infect E.coli bacteria. After infecting, the protein coat of the bacteriophage was separated from the bacterial cell by blending and then subjected to the process of centrifugation.

Since the protein coat was lighter, it was found in the supernatant while the infected bacteria got settled at the bottom of the centrifuge tube. In case I, supematatn was found radioactive. Which shows protein did not enter in bacterial cell during infection. While in case II, Bacterial cells in pelld were radioactive as they have radioactive DNA.

Hence, it was proved that DNA is the genetic material as it was transferred from virus to bacteria.

Hershey and Chase experiment

Write a Comment: