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Studies on the Structure and Function of Mammalian Chromosomes


Huberman, Joel Anthony (1968) Studies on the Structure and Function of Mammalian Chromosomes. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/1XDD-6803.


At levels of organization between the Watson-Crick model of DNA on the one hand, and the microscopically visible mitotic or meiotic chromosome on the other, very little is known about the structure or function of chromosomes in eukaryotic organisms. The studies reported in this thesis were an attempt to learn more about the arrangement of certain DNA sequences in mammalian chromosomes, about the size of the DNA molecules in such chromosomes, and about the replication of these DNA molecules.

Part I contains the results of experiments designed to determine the distribution of the hundreds of genes (DNA sequences) for ribosomal RNA among the chromosomes of HeLa cells. In the course of these experi­ments, methods were developed for isolating metaphase chromosomes on a large scale from HeLa cells and for fractionating them on the basis of sedimentation velocity. Hybridization experiments between ribo­somal RNA and DNA from the various fractions of isolated chromosomes showed that the genes for ribosomal RNA are confined entirely to small HeLa cell chromosomes.

In Part II are reported the results of autoradiographic experi­ments intended to help determine the size and manner of replication of the DNA in mammalian chromosomes. All the experiments described in Part II are the result of collaboration with Dr. Arthur D. Riggs. We used a modification (by Dr. Riggs) of the technique for autoradiography of individual DNA molecules which had been developed by Cairns (J. Mol. Biol. 6, 208 (1963)). Our application of this technique to the DNA of Chinese hamster cells demonstrated the presence in Chinese hamster cell chromosomes of DNA fibers up to 1,800 µ long. Subsequent pulse­ labeling studies showed that such long fibers are divided into many shorter replication units, and that DNA replication probably starts in the interior of each unit and then proceeds outward in both direc­tions, at fork-like growing points, to the ends of the unit.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Biochemistry and Chemistry)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Biochemistry
Minor Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Attardi, Giuseppe
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:28 September 1967
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04232018-145543593
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:10828
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:25 Apr 2018 20:24
Last Modified:02 Apr 2024 18:26

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