Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty: Authors of a scientific paper entitled "Studies on the chemical nature of the substance inducing transformation of pneumococcal types" that was published on Feb. 1, 1944, in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. Coauthored by Rockefeller Institute Hospital researchers Oswald Avery, Colin MacLeod, and Maclyn McCarty, the paper described the discovery that genes are made of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. Prior to this work, no biological assay was available to link genetic information with DNA. Although not as well-known to the general public, the work of Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty preceded by a decade the Nobel Prize-winning work of James Watson and Francis Crick. Nobelist Sir Peter Medawar called the Avery team's isolation of genes in pure chemical form "the most interesting and portentous biological experiment of the 20th century." Another Nobelist, Joshua Lederberg praised it as "the pivotal discovery of 20th-century biology."
See also: Avery, Oswald Theodore; Transforming Principle.