Early Work • Friedrich Miescher, 1869, first isolates a substance from the nucleus of cells that he calls “nuclein.” His student, Richard Altmann, calls the substance “nucleic acid.” • Biochemists identify two types of nucleic acids, later called RNA and DNA. • In 1929, Phoebus Levine at the Rockefeller center identifies the four bases of DNA.
What Does DNA Do? • Though early researchers knew that DNA was found in chromosomes, they doubted that it was the hereditary material. There were only four bases. How could for bases code for all sorts of proteins? • Some researchers, including Linus Pauling, thought that the protein also found in chromosomes was probably the hereditary factor.
Frederick Griffith • In 1928, Frederick Griffith carried out experiments on pneumonia bacteria in mice. • Discovery: something in heat-killed virulent bacteria could be transferred to live, harmless bacteria and make them virulent.
Oswald Avery • Avery continued working with Griffith’s findings in hope of discovering what factor in bacteria carried the trait of virulence. • Isolated proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and applied them to non-virulent bacteria. Only nucleic acids (DNA) caused a change.
Erwin Chargaff • Chargaff studied DNA itself, in hopes of providing some clues about its structure. • Discovered that there are always equal amounts of the bases Adenine and Thymine, and equal amounts of Cytosine and Guanine. • Chargaff proposed that these bases pair with one another in some way.
Wilkins and Franklin • Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins worked with X-ray crystalography to find more clues about the structure of DNA. • Franklin’s X-ray images suggested a helical structure.
Watson and Crick • James Watson and Francis Crick were also working on discovering the structure of DNA. • Applied Chargaff’s rule, assumed that A always pairs with T, C with G. • Watson was not entirely convinced of the helical structure that Franklin had suggested, and his critique of her work led her to doubt herself.
Watson and Crick • Wilkins consulted with Watson and Crick. Without Franklin’s knowledge, he handed them the data that he and Franklin had worked on. • Watson immediately recognized the significance. He and Crick went to work on a model of DNA.
DNA structure DNA is made up of four bases. RNA also has four bases, but has uracil instead of thymine.
DNA structure Across the DNA double-ladder, A always pairs with T, C always pairs with G because of the number of hydrogen bonds the bases form.
DNA structure The DNA ladder forms a spiral, or helical, structure, with the two sides held together with hydrogen bonds.
DNA Replication • Before cells divide, they must double their DNA so that each cell gets identical copies of the DNA strands. • DNA replication helps assure that the bases are copied correctly. • Enzymes carry out the process.
Overview of DNA replication. The hydrogen bonds break to “unzip” the DNA strand. Enzymes guide free nucleotides to the exposed single strands and match the nucleotides.
This diagram from your textbook (page 157) shows how enzymes carry out the replication process. DNA Helicase unzips the DNA. DNA Polymerase synthesizes the new strands, using the old strands as templates.
DNA Replication • Build a DNA Model interactive feature (web) • DNA Replication animation (web)
Summary • DNA is a nucleic acid made up of nucleotides. • The order of the nucleotides is important, and is maintained by matching of bases across the DNA ladder (A-T, C-G), and by enzymes that patrol the DNA • DNA replication occurs before cell division, and is an orderly, enzyme-driven process.