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Great Scientists

Johannes Friedrich Miescher

1844 - 1895

Friedrich Miescher

Friedrich Miescher was a Swiss biologist who pioneered work on isolating DNA from white blood cells. His discoveries, and the ingenious techniques he developed, led to the eventual identification of DNA as being the carriers of inheritance.

  • Nationality
  • Swiss

  • Subject
  • Biology, medicine

  • Fields
  • nucleic acid, physiological chemistry

  • Theories
  • Pioneer of the idea that nucleic acid was involved in inheritance of characteristics.

  • Experiments/Discoveries
  • Miescher isolated nuclein (today nucleic acid) from the nuclei of white blood cells (leucocytes).

    Miescher isolated nuclei of leucocytes from pus of wounds, by alkaline extraction, and acidification. This precipitate was DNA, but Miescher called it nuclien.

The Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Tübingen, Germany, and a research institute in Basel, Switzerland, are named in his honour.