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The Hershey-Chase experiment was a landmark experiment done in 1952 which showed that DNA is the hereditary material in cells. The scientists who conducted the experiment, Martha Hershey and Alfred Chase, wanted to know if it was the viral DNA or the protein coat that was the genetic code material which could incorporate into the cellular machinery of E. coli bacteria. So, their experiment involved allowing a bacteriophage virus which contained DNA labeled with 32P (an isotope of phosphorus) and a protein labeled with 35S (an isotope of sulfur) to attach to some E. coli. When the bacteriophages were later removed, they found that it was the 32P (and thus the DNA) that had entered the bacterial cells rather than the 35S (which would have indicated the protein).

Today, the Hershey-Chase experiment is reproduced by biochemistry students around the world as part of their education.

From the science dictionary at http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/

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