Alfred D Hershey


Also found in: Medical.

Hershey, Alfred D. (Day)

(1908–  ) geneticist; born in Owosso, Mich. He began research on bacteriophages (viruses which infect bacteria) while at Washington University (St. Louis) (1934–50), and in 1943 joined the informal "phage group" forum begun by Max Delbrück and Salvador Luria. Hershey then moved to the Carnegie Institution's laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. (1950–74). He and geneticist Martha Chase discovered (1952) that bacteriophage DNA alters genetic replication of the host bacterium, thus proving that DNA is the genetic material of the virus. For his work on viral structure and genetic replication, Hershey (with Delbrück and Luria) was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in physiology. Hershey preferred a quiet life after retirement to allow younger scientists to continue advancements in viral genetics.