Three different patterns of postirradiation DNA degradation were found in germinating spores. First, when Bacillus subtilis is irradiated as spores, there is little or no degradation. Second, when B. subtilis is allowed to germinate for a period of time less than 40-50 min prior to irradiation, there is degradation, but with a lag. Third, when B. subtilis is allowed to germinate for a period of time greater than 40-50 min prior to irradiation, there is immediate breakdown of DNA similar to the type found in vegetative cells. The modified pattern of DNA degradation seen in germinating spores is another argument for the hypothesis that the DNA in bacterial spores is in a different physical state from that found in vegetative cells.

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