NEET Botany Molecular Basis of Inheritance Questions Solved


How did Hershey and Chase establish that DNA is transferred from virus to bacteria ?       (5 marks)

 1. Hershey and Chase (1952) worked with viruses that infect bacteria called bacteriophages.

 2. Bacteriophage attaches to the bacteria and create to enter its genetic material (DNA) into the

     bacterial cell. Virus controls bacterial DNA and instructs to make its own replica i.e. virus


 3. They wanted to discover whether it was protein or DNA from the viruses that entered the                 bacteria.

 4. They grew some viruses on a medium containing radioactive phosphorus P32 and some other

     on a medium containing radioactive sulphur S35.

 5. Radioactive sulphur was incorporated in the protein part of virus as sulphur in present in the

     amino acids of proteins but not in DNA.

 6. Radioactive phosphorus was incorporated in the DNA part of virus as phosphorus is present in

     the DNA not in protein.

 7. These two phage preparations were allowed to infect the bacterial cells separately.

 8. Before lysis of bacteria both the cultures were gently agitated in a blender to separate the viral

     coats from bacterial cells.

 9. The culture was then centrifuged to separate viral particles from the bacterial cells.

10. The heavier bacteria settled down in the form of pellets. The supernatant contains lighter viral

      coats which do not enter in the bacteria cells.

11. Bacteria which were infected with radioactive S35 virus, was detected in supernatant not in

      bacterial cells.

12. Bacteria which were infected with radioactive P32 virus was detected in bacterial cells not in


13. This indicates protein did not enter the bacteria from viruses. DNA is therefore the genetic

      material that is passed from virus to bacteria.


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