The effects of phosphorus starvation on Tradescantia virginiana




Dobson, William Jackson, 1915-

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This experiment was designed and carried out in an effort to determine the effect of a phosphorus deficiency on the nucleic acids found in the chromosomes and the cytoplasm. Levene (1931) first advanced the modern concept that phosphoric acid acted as the linking agent for tying the side chains to the backbone of the nucleic acid molecule. This idea is widely accepted today. In a seminar discussion concerning the structure and behavior of the nucleic acids in general, with reference to their biological significance, this action of phosphoric acid was noted. The suggestion was made by Dr. Theophilus S. Painter that if the amount of phosphorus available were limited, perhaps the nucleic acids would not form due to the fact that there would be no linking agent present. Following this trend of thought, this experiment was planned for depriving plants of a sufficient amount of available phosphorus and then observing what the effect would be on the plant generally and the chromosomes and cytoplasm in particular