Griffiths (1920's) and Avery (1940's) experimented with two strains of Pneumococcus bacteria. Griffiths showed that mice died if injected with the virulent non-capsulated strain but lived if injected either with the harmless capsulated strain or dead virulent bacteria.
If the harmless bacteria were allowed to grow in the presence of the dead virulent cells, they became virulent themselves and killed the mice. Some part of the dead virulent strain had transformed the previously harmless strain. This phenomenon is transformation.
Avery later (1940's) showed that it was almost certainly the DNA from the dead virulent bacteria that caused this effect.
Hershey and Chase grew cultures of T2 bacteriophage viruses in the presence of radioisotopes. A virus only contains protein and nucleic acid.
One culture was given 32P so that all the virus DNA became radioactive (proteins do not contain P).
The second culture was given 35S so…