Reiji and Tuneko Okazaki conducted a now classic experiment in 1968 in which they discovered a population of short fragments

Reiji and Tuneko Okazaki conducted a now classic experiment in 1968 in which they discovered a population of short fragments synthesized during DNA replication. They introduced a short pulse of 3H -thymidine into a culture of E. coli and extracted DNA from the cells at various intervals. In analyzing the DNA after centrifugation in denaturing gradients, they noticed that as the interval between the time of 3H -thymidine introduction and the time of centrifugation increased, the proportion of short strands decreased and more labeled DNA was found in larger strands. What would account for this observation?
a. the ligation of Okazaki fragments by DNA ligase
b. the degradation of Okazaki fragments by DNA polymerase I
c. the accumulation of Okazaki fragments produced on the lagging strand
d. the mutation affecting the activity of DNA ligase

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