Why didn't Frederick Griffith's S-type "heat-killed" DNA get damaged in pneumococcus Experiments?

Tom Anderson ucgatan at socrates-a.ucl.ac.uk
Fri Nov 21 06:26:56 EST 2003

On 18 Nov 2003, Alex wrote:

> When Frederick Griffith "heat-killed" the S-type pneumococcus cells.
> one would hope their DNA would get damaged. It apparently did not. Why
> not?

I'd guess that it did, to some extent. However, it didn't get entirely
destroyed, and as long as some survived (and it only needed to be the
relevant gene), there would have been some transformants. What conditions
were used to heat-kill? Remember that DNA survives pretty rough treatment
in boiling minipreps, and will generally survive autoclaving, albeit not
in good shape.


Tom Anderson, MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, UCL

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