Oswald Theodore Avery (1877-1955)
- physician and bacteriologist, best known for his discoveries in genetics
- born in Halifax, Nova Scotia
- educated at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons
- first to show that the agent responsible for transferring genetic information was not a protein, as biochemists of the time believed, but deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
- Avery and his coworkers extracted a substance from a bacterium with a smooth surface and introduced it into a rough-surfaced bacterium. When the rough-surfaced bacteria transformed into the smooth-surfaced type, he knew the substance he had extracted contained the gene that coded for the smooth surface. Avery's team purified this substance and found it was pure DNA.
- the results were published in 1944, this paper led to more intensive studies of DNA, which eventually revealed it to be the agent of heredity
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