By Arnold W. Ravin and Alvin Nason (Auth.)
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Additional info for The Evolution of Genetics
After the rediscovery of Mendel's work, genetic investigations were carried on in such diverse organisms as the corn, rye, wheat, evening primrose, jimson weed, cotton, snapdragon, and other plants, in mice, guinea pigs, the fruit fly, and man, and in such lowly creatures as the microscopic yeasts, molds, and protozoa. Wherever geneticists looked, they found evidence for units of inheritance forming linear arrays which were carried by the chromosomes. The significance of this finding is that something basic, common to all organisms, is operating in heredity, development and evolution.
The chloroplasts contain the photosynthetic machinery of the green plant. It is entirely conceivable, of course, that the molecular contents of all of these cytoplasmic organelles are determined by the genetic information contained in the cell's chromosomes. We know, however, that this cannot be entirely true. Since 1910, it has been known that mutations may cause defects in the photosynthetic apparatus of green plants. One such mutation is characterized by "albino" (chlorophyll-less) chloroplasts.
Nearly any character that is subject to mutation may also be transformed by the appropriate DNA. Thus, penicillin-sensitive bacteria may be made genetically penicillin-resistant upon exposure to DNA from penicillinresistant bacteria. In a similar way, nonutilizers of the sugar maltose can be transformed into utilizers, or nonsynthesizers of the amino acid tryptophan into synthesizers of tryptophan, and so on. If one transforms a bacterial culture with DNA extracted from a strain that is mutant in two or more characters, the result is a mixture of transformed bacteria.