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DNA replication -a historical perspective

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By the end of the 19th century, the first chapter of a powerful new science was all but written. The science was genetics and the critical first chapter concerned the rules, governing transmission of hereditary traits from generation to generation. Genetics is the study of inheritance (heredity) of parental characteristics and of variability of the characteristics of an organism. Variability can occur by genetic change and is in fact the basis of evolution.

The first step in understanding heredity was the work of Gregor Johann Mendel, an Australian monk & philosopher who showed in 1865 that crosses (hybrids) of different garden pea varieties had a definite pattern of inheritance of parental characteristics such as color, shape and other properties of the flower and seeds.

Mendel’s research paper remained dormant & unnoticed by the scientific world until 1900. It was in the beginning of 20th century that three botanies, namely Hugo de Vries, working on Oenothera spp, Carl Correns working on Xenia spp, peas and maize and Erich von Tshermak working on various flowering plants, independently drew the conclusion like Mendel. Later these botanists came across the research paper of Mendel & rediscovered it in 1900. Mendel’s discoveries had been confined and extended by connecting the rules of heredity with the property and behaviors of chromosomes, in the dawn of 20th century from the point of view of modern genetics, the important early milestone was the recognition ...

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