Duplex Quiz

Martin E. Mulligan mulligan at kean.ucs.mun.ca
Wed Jun 16 20:04:05 EST 1993


In article <1993Jun13.171218.10164 at gserv1.dl.ac.uk>, GBCA26 at VMS3.GLA.AC.UK ("David Leader : Glasgow University Biochemistry writes:
> As co-author of a text book on nucleic acids, I received the following 
> enquiry from a reader in Italy:
> 
> 	Who first suggested the term "DNA duplex"  ?
> 
> I suppose the average molecular biologist around today wan't born when the 
> term was coined, but although I was - oh those grey hairs - I don't know 
> the answer. Anybody out there does?
> 
> David Leader,
> University of Glasgow.
> 
> 

A check of my copy of "The Genetics of Bacteria and their Viruses" bu
William Hayes (2nd edition - 1968) showed that Hayes uses the term
'duplex' in describing DNA.  In Chapter 11, he talks about 'the long axis
of the duplex' and in describing the Meselson-Stahl experiment he
talks about 'The parental DNA duplex','the parental duplex', and even
'the daughter and grand-daughter duplexes'.

Our library does not have the first edition of this book but it did
have "Microbial Genetics: Tenth Symposium of the Society for General
Microbiology"  held in London, April 1960.  In an article by Hayes
on "The Bacterial Chromosome" he uses the term 'duplex' but I did
not look long and hard enough to see if the term 'DNA duplex' was used.  
Here are two quotes:

"This mode of replication is called semi-conservative since each 
daughter duplex consists of one chain conserved from the original 
duplex and one newly-synthesized chain."

"The only possible irregularity in the Watson-Crick model of DNA 
which could serve as a chemical code is the sequence of the four bases 
along one of the polynucleotide chains of the duplex."


_______________________________________________________________________
Martin E. Mulligan
Dept. of Biochemistry
Memorial University of Newfoundland



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