ROSALIND FRANKLIN (1920- 58)

1952 – London, England

‘Description of the basic helical structure of the DNA molecule’

dna_overview

DNA overview

Photograph of young ROSALIND FRANKLIN &copy:

ROSALIND FRANKLIN

Her work is used, unaccredited, in Watson & Crick’s Nobel Prize-winning paper, from information ‘secretly’ leaked from Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins.

Through her work on X-ray diffraction, she realised that the ‘backbone’ of the DNA molecule was on the outside.

By 1952, Franklin had taken the clearest pictures of the molecules to date, which provided evidence of a helical, or spiral structure.
Watson & Crick would eventually articulate a ‘double-helix’ construction.

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FRANCIS CRICK (USA 1916-2004) JAMES DEWEY WATSON (UK b.1928)

1953 – UK

‘The self reproducing genetic molecule DNA has the form of a double helix’

Photograph of WATSON & CRICK ©

WATSON & CRICK

The structure explains how DNA stores information and replicates itself.
The helical strands of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) consist of chains of alternating sugar and phosphate groups. Four types of base – adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T) – form the rungs of the DNA ladder, which can only be linked by hydrogen bonds in four combinations: A-T, C-G, T-A, G-C.

The DNA code is based on the order of these four bases and is carried from one generation to the next. The sequence of base pairs along the length of the strands is not the same in DNAs of different organisms. It is this difference in the sequence that makes one gene different from another.

link to Cold Spring Harbor - study of DNA

picture of the Nobel medal - link to nobelprize.org

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