NEET Botany Molecular Basis of Inheritance Questions Solved


(a) Why did Meselson and Stahl use N14 and N15 isotopes in the sources of nitrogen present in the

     culture medium in their experiment ? Explain.

(b) Write the conclusion drawn by them from the experiment.           (3 marks)

(a) (i) Meselson and Stahl grew E.coli in a medium containing 15NH4Cl (15N is the heavy isotope of

          nitrogen) as the only nitrogen source for many generations. 15N was incorporated in the

          two strands of newly synthesised DNA. This heavy DNA could be seperated from the normal

           14N DNA by centrifugation in a cesium chloride (CsCl) density gradient.

     (ii) They transferred the cells of E.coli 15NH4Cl into a medium with normal 14NH4Cl and took

           out samples at various intervals of time as the cells multiplied and extracted the DNAs and

           centrifuged them to measure their densities.

    (iii) The DNA extracted from the cells after one generation of transfer from the 15N medium to 

          14N medium (after 20m) had an intermediate/hybrid density.

    (iv) The DNA extracted after two generations (after 40m) consisted of equal amounts of 'light'

          DNA and hybrid DNA.


(b) Conclusion was semiconservative mode of DNA replication. They drew this conclusion on the 

     basis of the observations given above.

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