Equilibrium Density Gradient Centrifugation in Cesium Chloride Solutions Developed by Matthew Meselson and Franklin Stahl
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Matthew Meselson, Franklin Stahl, and Jerome Vinograd, developed cesium chloride, or CsCl, density gradient centrifugation in the 1950s at the California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, in Pasadena, California. Density gradient centrifugation enables scientists to separate substances based on size, shape, and density. Meselson and Stahl invented a specific type of density gradient centrifugation, called isopycnic centrifugation that used a solution of cesium chloride to separate DNA molecules based on density alone. When Meselson and Stahl developed the technique in the mid-1950s, scientists had no other way to separate macromolecules that were of similar size but varied in density. Meselson and Stahl employed their method to determine how DNA replicates, became known as the Meselson-Stahl experiment. Density gradient centrifugation using cesium salts allowed scientists to isolate DNA and other macromolecules by density alone.