Taken in 1952, this image is the very first X-ray photo of DNA, which caused the discovery of that molecular framework by Watson and Crick. Created by Rosalind Franklin using a method called X-ray crystallography, the revealed the helical form of the DNA molecule. Watson and also Crick realized that DNA was made up of two chains that nucleotide pairs the encode the hereditary information for all living things.

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Credits: picture of Rosalind Franklin courtesy of Vittorio Luzzati. Photo of x-ray crystallography (Exposure 51) courtesy that King"s university Archives. King"s university London.

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Topics Covered: Evolution since Darwin


The discovery of DNA"s Structure:

They were hardly modest, these 2 brash young researchers who in 1953 asserted to patrons the the Eagle Pub in Cambridge, England, the they had "found the mystery of life." however James Watson and Francis Crick"s case was a valid one, for they had in fact discovered the framework of DNA, the chemical the encodes instructions because that building and also replicating practically all living things. The stunning uncover made feasible the era the "new biology" that brought about the biotechnology sector and, many recently, the deciphering the the human genetic blueprint.Watson and Crick"s discovery didn"t come out of the blue. As early as 1943 Oswald Avery confirmed what had been suspected: that DNA, a nucleic acid, carries genetic information. However no one knew exactly how it worked.By the early on 1950s, at the very least two groups were warm on the trail. Crick, a brother graduate student, and Watson, an American research study fellow, were in the hunt in ~ Cambridge University. At King"s university in London, Rosalind Franklin and also Maurice Wilkins were examining DNA. Wilkins and also Franklin offered X-ray diffraction together their key tool -- beaming X-rays through the molecule surrendered a shadow picture of the molecule"s structure, by how the X-rays bounced off its component parts.Franklin, a shy and also inward young woman, experienced from patronizing attitudes and sexism that required her come do lot of her work alone. And her senior partner, Wilkins, confirmed some of Franklin"s findings to Watson in January 1953 without she knowledge. Referring to Franklin"s X-ray image known together "Exposure 51," James Watson is report to have said, "The instant I saw the picture, my mouth fell open and my pulse started to race." soon after, Watson and Crick made a critical advance as soon as they proposed the the DNA molecule was comprised of two chains the nucleotides combine in such a means to type a twin helix, choose a spiral staircase. This structure, announced in their famous document in the April 1953 problem of Nature, defined how the DNA molecule can replicate itself during cell division, allowing organisms to reproduce themselves with remarkable accuracy other than for occasional mutations.For their work, Watson, Crick, and also Wilkins received the Nobel prize in 1962. In spite of her contribution to the exploration of DNA"s helical structure, Rosalind Franklin to be not named a prize winner: She had passed away of cancer 4 years earlier, at the period of 37.

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