In 1939 Delbruck discovered a one-step process for growing bacteriophages
that, after a one-hour latent period, would multiply to produce several
hundred thousands of progeny. Delbruck soon began to collaborate with
Luria, and in 1943 they announced their discovery that a bacterium that
has been infected by a bacteriophage can undergo spontaneous mutations
so that it becomes immune to the phage. In 1946 Delbruck and Hershey
independently discovered that the genetic material of different kinds
of viruses can combine to create new types of viruses. This process
was previously believed to be limited to higher, sexually reproducing
forms of life.
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