Commercial [methyl-3H]thymidine preparations tested here contain about a 0.2% contaminant which is rapidly incorporated into Chlamydomonas DNA. This contaminant obscures the measurement of the rate of chloroplast DNA synthesis when methyl-labeled preparations are used. Such contaminants are not present in ring-labeled (either 3H or 14C) thymidine preparations. In ring-labeled thymidine preparations, a slower incorporation rate commensurate with cell density is observed. These slower, long-term incorporation kinetics would be expected for the utilization of bona fide thymidine into chloroplast DNA.

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