Watson and Crick: The Adventure to Discovering the Structure of DNA
Introduction to Genetics with Mrs. Roe
January 7, 2013
Francis Crick and James Watson are recognized for one of the largest and most important breakthroughs in the scientific field. Not only are they recognized for their massive breakthrough, but also they set the foundation for many things to come with their discovery and their conclusions. “This structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest" may be one of science’s most famous understatements (Fredholm, 2003). In April of 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick made the news public that they had discovered the structure of DNA. The breakthrough they made would have never happened without some very important people and their influences as well as input toward the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA. These people are, mainly, Rosalind Franklin and previous data and knowledge from Erwin Chargaff. Without this discovery genetics as we know it would not even be in existence.
DNA, or deoxyribose nucleic acid, is the molecule that is the basis of heredity (“James Watson, Francis Crick,” 2010). DNA contains the patterns for constructing proteins in the body, including various enzymes. It also can replicate itself in order for a cell to be divided.
Rosalind Franklin was by far the greatest contributor to the discovery of the structure of DNA. Rosalind Franklin had a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and that is what contributed to her findings. She studied X-ray crystallography at King’s College in London along-side Maurice Wilkins. X-ray crystallography is a process that allows one to deduce the shape of biological molecules based on the pattern made when a sample of the biological material is subjected to x-ray bombardment. When x-rays are targeted at a sample, the rays are diffracted according to the three-dimensional structure of the molecules of the sample. If one has some knowledge of the...