Nucleic acids in young leaves of Swiss chard have been studied by light and electron microscope techniques. Leaf DNA has also been characterized by density gradient centrifugation and shown to contain a minor band of higher guanine plus cytosine (GC) content, presumably attributable to chloroplasts. The chloroplasts were faintly stained by the Feulgen reaction; radioautography demonstrated the incorporation of tritiated thymidine in the cytoplasm and in some nuclei. The Feulgen stainability and most of the radioactivity were removable with DNase. Under the electron microscope, both mitochondria and chloroplasts were found to contain filamentous and particulate components within the matrix areas. The morphology of the filamentous component was dependent on the fixation, being partially clumped after OSO4 or formalin, but finely filamentous after Kellenberger fixation. The filaments were stainable with uranyl acetate, and were extractable with DNase following formalin fixation under conditions in which nuclear DNA was also extracted. The particulate component, after formalin fixation and uranyl staining, was prominent in chloroplasts from young leaves, but was only sparsely distributed in mitochondria. The stainability was removed with ribonuclease. We have concluded that chloroplasts and mitochondria of Swiss chard possess a filamentous component that contains DNA, probably responsible for both cytoplasmic thymidine incorporation and the minor band in CsCl centrifugation. A particulate ribosome-like component that contains RNA is also present.

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