Edited by Gerald Boerner
Science is on a continuing quest to explain the mechanisms that make the the world run. This applies to both the physical and biological worlds. One of these quest was successfully explained in the the mid-20th century at Cambridge University in England. Two researchers, James Watson and Francis Crick, who were trying to understand how genetic information was was transferred from parents to their offspring. They knew that DNA was involved, but the mechanism by which it was accomplished.
Using data from X-ray defraction studies of isolated strands of this DNA in the labs at King’s College, London, to develop a model of this complex molecule. The breakthrough came when they hypothesized a pair of helix structures that combined via some definable chemical bonds. The resulting double helix structure enabled biologists to explain how genetic material from each parent could recombine to reproduce to yield a range of physical characteristics.
I remember being assigned to read a number of books during my first semester in graduate school. One of the books was Watson’s “The Double Helix” the followed this discovery. It was fascinating reading! In 1962, Watson, Crick, and Wilkins received the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for this discovery of the Double Helix; another collaborator, Rosalind Franklin, would have been a party of this award if she were still alive. This is but one of the findings that makes the history of science so fascinating.
But, now is the time to move on to the exploration of today’s topic… GLB
These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved
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Quotations Related to DNA:
“If you can write DNA, you’re no longer limited to ‘what is’ but to what you could make.”
— Drew Endy
“The O.J. Simpson case, they had no understanding of that DNA evidence, and didn’t want to.”
— Joseph Wambaugh
“It was very interesting for me because DNA made music without much technical knowledge at all.”
— Arto Lindsay