“This structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014. Author Dr Dan Reardon

James Watson and Francis Crick describing DNA in 1953

In April 1953, this sentence appeared in the scientific paper where James Watson and Francis Crick presented the structure of the DNA helix, the molecule that carries genetic information from one generation to the other: that is the discovery of DNA!

In 1962, they shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine with Maurice Wilkins. Our very own Dr. Samantha points out that Rosalind Franklin’s work on X-Ray Diffraction paved the way for Crick & Watson to elucidate the helical structure of DNA; she, by many accounts, had an equal claim to credit in the discovery.

In 1990, a project called the Human Genome Project began, in which teams of scientists set out to determine the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up DNA, identifying and mapping the approximately 20,000–25,000 genes of the human genome from both a physical and functional standpoint. This project was complete by 2003.

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