The Molecular Basis of Heredity

Although our understanding of how DNA encodes genetic information is relatively recent, the study of DNA structure stretches back 100 years.

Early Studies of DNA

In 1868, Johann Friedrich Miescher ( FIGURE 10.1) graduated from medical school in Switzerland. Influenced by an uncle who believed that the key to understanding disease lay in the chemistry of tissues, Miescher traveled to Tubingen, Germany, to study under Ernst Felix Hoppe-Seyler, an early leader in the emerging field of biochemistry. Under Hoppe-Seyler's direction, Miescher turned his attention to the chemistry of pus, a substance of clear medical importance. Pus contains white blood cells with large nuclei; Miescher developed a method of isolating

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