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Seymour Benzer (born 1921), American geneticist. Benzer carried out research on bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, at the California Institute of Technology. He found that changes to a gene led to a change in the protein it coded for. He created the word cistron to refer to the smallest section of a DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) strand forming a functioning gene. Benzer also discovered that mutations in certain areas of the DNA molecule occur more often than they would be expected to by chance alone. These hot spots are associated with modified nucleic acids on the DNA strand. His later research focused on the behaviour of the fruit fly (Drosophila sp.).
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