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In 1952, Martha Chase worked to confirm that DNA, not protein, could independently carry the genetic material. Her team created bacteriophages with radiolabeled protein and bacteriophages with radiolabeled DNA. One group of phages contained radiolabeled sulfur, and another group contained radiolabeled phosphorus. Non-labeled bacteria were then infected with the phages. Following incubation, the material from inside the bacterial cell and the material that remained outside the bacteria were examined.

What was the theory behind the first step of this experimental design?

A

Proteins contain sulfur, but not phosphorus, and DNA contains phosphorus, but not sulfur, allowing for tracing whether DNA or protein carries the genetic material.

B

Radiolabeled DNA would be found in the material from inside the bacterial cell and from the material that remained outside the cell.

C

Radiolabeled phosphorus would allow for detection of the viral capsid.

D

The bacteriophage would incorporate the radiolabeled DNA and would be present in the bacterium’s nucleus.

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