Who Is Frederick Griffith

Frederick Griffith

Frederick Griffith, a British bacteriologist made a very remarkable mark on science during his time. Griffith was able to prove things that have helped shape science and medicine today. He did many experiments focusing mainly on bacterial pneumonia. His findings have been able to help doctors, scientists, and many other people in his field. Griffiths proposed his first experiment in 1928. This being the most remarkable of his experiments.

Griffith lived an average length of life from 1879 to 1941. Griffith was born in England and continued his life in England. Griffith was one of two children and both him and his sibling were employed by the British government. Griffith attended Liverpool University and graduated in 1901. After graduation, he had many positions as a microbiologist. After having many of those jobs he decided to join the military in 1910. He became a medical officer in the pathology laboratory. Not much of anything is known about Griffiths family and his relationship that he had with them. Griffith died in 1941, his cause of death was during a night of the WWII London Blitz. The London Blitz was a series of nightly bombs on London. These bombers were from Germany focusing mainly on industrial industries and companies. This was a 57 night period and this resulted in many deaths, including Frederick Griffiths. Unfortunately, not much is known in detail about his early life. Not much information is anywhere to be found about his family or the relationship that he had with them or even about himself.

Like previously mentioned, Griffith focused mainly on DNA and bacterial pneumonia. The most influential experiment that Griffith conducted was in 1928, this was known as ‘Griffith's Experiment’. He showed that Streptococcus pneumoniae could transform one strain on DNA into another strain of DNA. At the time he did not know that the strains were called DNA. Pneumococcus has two different types, smooth and rough. There is one major difference between the two. The S strain has a smooth polysaccharide coat which makes it resistant to the immune system of mice and the R strain does not have this coat. Griffith had three parts to this experiment. In the first part, he injected mice with each S and R separately and found that the mice lived with R and died with S. The next potion showed that if mice were injected with S killed by the heat they ended up surviving. For the third portion Griffith mixed heat-killed S and live R and found that all of the mice died. Thus, he concluded that the S transformed into the R somehow, he called this process the transforming principle. Concluding that bacteria can be passed from generation to generation. This was very important to science because he believed that bacteria were capable of transferring genetic information. Griffith did not receive any awards himself for this work that he conducted by he did have an award named after him for some time. This award was a “Frederick Griffith Prize” award. This award has since retired and is no longer given.

Griffiths findings are very important today because is has helped many professions. His contributions to science have helped scientists but it has also immensely helped those that work with medicine. His findings have given doctors an idea on how to create more effective medicines like antibiotics. Through Griffith's experiments he was able to discover more about the idea of transformation. This fact and the fact that he was able to conclude that bacteria were able of transferring genetic information were by far his biggest contributions to science. Because of Griffith's experiments, he is now known as one of the founding fathers of molecular biology. His findings allowed other scientists to correct and verify his work. Some of these scientists include Avery, McCarty, Hershey, and Chase.

10 September 2019
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