Matthew Meselson: The Semi-Conservative Replication of DNA

In 1953, Watson and Crick proposed a double-helical structure for DNA and suggested that it replicated in a semi-conservative manner. This method of replication was not universally accepted as correct, however. In this talk, Meselson recalls the events that led him to meet Frank Stahl and to plan and execute the now famous experiment proving that DNA does indeed undergo semi-conservative replication.

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Youreka Science Video about the Meselson and Stahl Paper

The Most Beautiful Experiment in Biology: The Semi-Conservative Replication of DNA

Research Paper Discussed in this Talk

Meselson, M. & F. W. Stahl.  1958.  The replication of DNA in Escherichia coli.  PNAS 44:671-682.

Educator Resources (Educators only)

These questions and answers were designed to link the iBiology video to the research paper and for use as a classroom activity.

Prepared by Dr. Kirk Ehmsen.

Questions and answers for this talk and related paper >>

About the Speaker

Dr. Meselson has made important contributions to the areas of DNA replication, repair and recombination as well as isolating the first restriction enzyme. Currently, he is Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University where his lab studies aging in the model organism bdelloid rotifers. Meselson is also a long time advocate for the abolition of biological and chemical weapons. He has received many honors including a Lasker Award in 2004.

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