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Hammerling's Acetabularia


Hammerling's experiment with the single celled green algae, Acetabularia, showed that the nucleus of a cell contains the genetic information that directs cellular development.

A. mediterranea has a smooth, disc shaped cap, while A. crenulata has a branched, flower-like cap. Each Acetabularia cell is composed of three segments: the "foot" or base which contains the nucleus, the "stalk," and the "cap."

In his experiments, Hammerling grafted the stalk of one species of Acetabularia onto the foot of another species. In all cases, the cap that eventually developed on the grafted cell matched the species of the foot rather than that of the stalk. In this example, the cap that is allowed to grow on the grafted stalk looks like the base species one... A. mediterranea.

This experiment shows that the base is responsible for the type of cap that grows. The nucleus that contains genetic information is in the base, so the nucleus directs cellular development.

Hammerling's Acetabularia From: Peters, Pamela. "Biotechnology: A Guide to Genetic Engineering." Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown Publishers, 1993.

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