Replicating T5 or λ phage DNA has been labeled by adding tritiated thymidine for short periods to cultures of phage-infected Escherichia coli before isolation of intracellular DNA. Two procedures are described for separating T5 replicating DNA from DNA of intracellular phage particles. Both T5 and λ replicating DNA had the same bouyant density in cesium chloride as DNA from phage particles but sedimented faster when centrifuged in sucrose density gradients. The fast sedimentation did not appear to be caused by DNA protein or DNA-RNA complexes or by aggregation of DNA, but is probably due to DNA molecules of unusual structure. Experiments involving hydrodynamic shear and sucrose density gradient centrifugation at alkaline pH have suggested that with λ the replicating form of DNA is a linear molecule considerably longer than the DNA molecules of λ-phage particles. The constituent polynucleotide chains of λ but not T5 replicating DNA also appear to be longer than those of phage DNA.

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