Skip to content

The scientists behind the Meselson-Stahl experiment

The other day we talked about the historical moment when Matt Meselson and Frank Stahl elucidated the semi-conservative mechanism of DNA replication.

We briefly discussed the challenges that they faced at that time as a graduate student and a postdoc, which I think would give us insights to face our own challenges. I am still reading the longer book about the history behind this experiment. I think it is a very entertaining read but it is also very thick. A shorter historical account published in the PNAS would be easier for many of us to get an overall impression of the story.


Hanawalt PC. Density matters: the semiconservative replication of DNA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Dec 28;101(52):17889-94. [PubMed][pdf]
Holmes FL. Meselson, Stahl, and the Replication of DNA: A History of ‘The Most Beautiful Experiment in Biology’ [Amazon]