" DNA: MOLECULE OF HEREDITY " 1960 ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA BIOLOGY / GENETICS FILM XD43904
Published on May 22, 2021
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This 1960 color educational film from Encyclopedia Britannica Films (Unit 5 in their biology program) serves as an introduction to DNA, covering its molecular structure and its role in human growth, reproduction, and the transmission of hereditary traits (TRT 15:34).
Leader: “Central Washington State College.” Opening titles (0:06). A colorful model of a double helix encircles a transparent post. Pan to reveal our host, Dr. George Beadle of the California Institute of Technology in an office library setting. He addresses two youths in sweaters (0:35). Photomicrography of a single cell unfertilized human egg, and that of a sea urchin in comparison (1:35). The youths listen respectfully (2:11). The nucleus of an egg cell with titles overlaid: “Chromosomes” and “Genes” (2:33). Dr. Beadle produces a gray mouse from a glass tank, lifting it by its tail (3:01). A mouse sniffs at the air in closeup. An albino mouse is added to the frame (3:09). Three mice drink water from a dish, surrounded by pellets (3:43). A middle-aged albino woman smiles (3:56). Title card: “I Can Not Produce Pigment.” Morse code appears below each word (4:16). Title card: “Deoxyribonucleic acid” (4:44). Dr. Beadle brings the DNA model to his desk. Closeup on its double helix of red, white, green, and black metal hexagons (4:50). An illustration of a ladder-like structure is labeled alphabetically. “A” is linked to “T” and “C” is linked to “G” along the “rungs” of the ladder (5:23). The albino woman speaks (6:54). The youths in closeup as they continue listening (7:27). An open book of text. Pull back to reveal many stacks of hardcover volumes piled high (7:55). Photomicrography of a cell nucleus (8:08). The young man appears stumped, but the young woman explains mitosis (8:22). A cell divides and multiplies by the process of mitosis in time-lapse photography (8:38). The young woman looks downward (9:29). The illustration of the ladder separates at the middle into two halves. New halves appear to form two complete strands. The animation repeats, slowly, in closeup (9:41). Disconnected cell units dance, matching A’s to T’s and C’s to G’s (10:23). Dr. Beadle holds up a molecular model. He tries to join two halves together, but one half falls away. A matching half fits and holds shape (11:06). Dancing molecule fragments repeat the process of completing strands in limited animation (11:53). A typist works at a red typewriter among piles of disorganized books. She types, “I have now copied one thousand volumes without making a single significant typographical errot.” She winces (12:33). The young woman smiles gently (13:00). Title card: “Mutations'' (13:14). A cell with normal hemoglobins is circled. A cell with defective, sickle cell hemoglobins is shown (13:31). Dr. Beadle dryly concludes his presentation (14:50). End titles (15:22).
The film features photomicrography provided by the University of Chicago.
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