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Cellular Uptake of Deoxyribonucleic Acid by Human Tissue Culture Cells


THE demonstration of the role of deoxyribonucleic acid in the transfer of genetic information has been one of the most important developments in modern biology. In bacteria the physical transfer of deoxyribonucleic acid may take place by non-cellular means1–3. In higher organisms, the transfer of genetic information, at least in the sexual cycle, requires a special cell, the gamete, produced in meiosis. However, the possibility of non-cellular transfer of genetic information in higher organisms, at least in somatic tissue, must be considered. Two attempts to transfer genetic information in higher organisms by injections of deoxyribonucleic acid into intact animals have already been reported4. The results of these experiments were conflicting and it seems that further work at a cellular level might be more fruitful. Mammalian tissue culture in conjunction with the use of labelled homologous deoxyribonucleic acid offers a system in which the possibilities of extracellular transfer of deoxyribonucleic acid in higher forms can be investigated. In this communication the results of such experiments utilizing the Henle tissue culture cell line (derived from human embryonic jejunum) and homologous deoxyribonucleic acid labelled with tritiated thymidine are reported.

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    Avery, O. T., MacLeod, C. M., and McCarty, M., J. Exp. Med., 79, 137 (1944).

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    Catlin, B. W., and Cunningham, L. S., J. Gen. Microbiol., 19, 522 (1958).

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    Zinder, N. D., and Lederberg, J., J. Bacteriol., 64, 679 (1952).

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    Benoit, J., Leroy, P., Vendrely, C., and Vendrely, M. R., C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris, 247, 1049 (1958). Medawar, P. B., Nature, 182, 62 (1958).

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    Davidson, D., and Feigelson, P., Int. J. App. Rad. Isotopes, 2, 18 (1957).

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