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Friedrich Miescher's laboratory, 1879. In 1869, a Swiss doctor, Friedrich Miescher, isolated a new chemical substance. Miescher was interested in cells, which were visible through a new invention, the microscope. As a doctor, Miescher had a ready supply of white blood cells, from the pus-filled bandages at the hospital where he worked. Miescher added some simple chemicals to these cells and isolated a white precipitate he called "nuclein." Miescher assumed, correctly, that the precipitate was from the large nuclei of the white blood cells. Although not recognized at the time, Miescher had isolated the first crude extract of DNA.
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