Their discovery made it possible to understand more clearly the chemical basis of heredity in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. Since then the proposed double helix structure for DNA has become the cornerstone for explaining gene function, gene replication, and the nature of mutations.
At this time many geneticists began to use microbes as research organisms. Laboratory mice and fruit flies were abandoned by many geneticists in favour of microbes such as E. coli, Neurospora (a fungus), and T4 phage (a bacterial virus).
The ease of culturing and short generation times of microbes enabled geneticists to quickly produce large populations and trace inheritable characteristics through hundreds of generations.
Although there are a number of advantages to using these organisms, it was soon discovered that microbes demonstrate many genetic characteristics and inheritance patterns not previously found in eukaryotic cells.
As these patterns we explored further, it became clear that transformation, conjugation and transduction would have far-reaching implications in medicine and in the field of eukaryotic genetics.