How did james watson discovered the structure of dna

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how did james watson discovered the structure of dna

The Double Helix by James D. Watson

By identifying the structure of DNA, the molecule of life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionized biochemistry & won themselves a Nobel Prize. At the time, Watson was only 24, a young scientist hungry to make his mark. His uncompromisingly honest account of the heady days of their thrilling sprint against other world-class researchers to solve one of sciences greatest mysteries gives a dazzlingly clear picture of a world of brilliant scientists with great gifts, very human ambitions & bitter rivalries. With humility unspoiled by false modesty, Watson relates his & Cricks desperate efforts to beat Linus Pauling to the Holy Grail of life sciences, the identification of the basic building block of life. Never has a scientist been so truthful in capturing in words the flavor of his work.
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James Watson

The discovery in of the double helix, the twisted-ladder structure of deoxyribonucleic acid DNA , by James Watson and Francis Crick marked a milestone in the history of science and gave rise to modern molecular biology, which is largely concerned with understanding how genes control the chemical processes within cells. In short order, their discovery yielded ground-breaking insights into the genetic code and protein synthesis. During the s and s, it helped to produce new and powerful scientific techniques, specifically recombinant DNA research, genetic engineering, rapid gene sequencing, and monoclonal antibodies, techniques on which today's multi-billion dollar biotechnology industry is founded. Major current advances in science, namely genetic fingerprinting and modern forensics, the mapping of the human genome, and the promise, yet unfulfilled, of gene therapy, all have their origins in Watson and Crick's inspired work. The double helix has not only reshaped biology, it has become a cultural icon, represented in sculpture, visual art, jewelry, and toys. Researchers working on DNA in the early s used the term "gene" to mean the smallest unit of genetic information, but they did not know what a gene actually looked like structurally and chemically, or how it was copied, with very few errors, generation after generation. In , Oswald Avery had shown that DNA was the "transforming principle," the carrier of hereditary information, in pneumococcal bacteria.

Watson enrolled at the University of Chicago when only 15 and graduated in From his virus research at Indiana University Ph. He learned that scientists working in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge were using photographic patterns made by X-rays that had been shot through protein crystals to study the structure of protein molecules. After working at the University of Copenhagen, where he first determined to investigate DNA, he did research at the Cavendish Laboratory — In he determined the structure of the protein coat surrounding the tobacco mosaic virus but made no dramatic progress with DNA.

On this day in , Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Francis H. Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes. In the early s, Watson and Crick were only two of many scientists working on figuring out the structure of DNA. California chemist Linus Pauling suggested an incorrect model at the beginning of , prompting Watson and Crick to try and beat Pauling at his own game.

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Early life

James Watson: How we discovered DNA

In Watson b. The reasons for her exclusion have been debated and are still unclear. The molecule that is the basis for heredity, DNA, contains the patterns for constructing proteins in the body, including the various enzymes. A new understanding of heredity and hereditary disease was possible once it was determined that DNA consists of two chains twisted around each other, or double helixes, of alternating phosphate and sugar groups, and that the two chains are held together by hydrogen bonds between pairs of organic bases—adenine A with thymine T , and guanine G with cytosine C. She was born into a prominent London banking family, where all the children—girls and boys—were encouraged to develop their individual aptitudes.

James Dewey Watson born April 6, is an American molecular biologist , geneticist and zoologist. In , he co-authored with Francis Crick the academic paper proposing the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. Watson, Crick, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material". From to , Watson was on the faculty of the Harvard University Biology Department, promoting research in molecular biology. At CSHL, he shifted his research emphasis to the study of cancer , along with making it a world leading research center in molecular biology. In , he started as president and served for 10 years.


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