British artist Mark Curtis believes that the current
double-helical concept of DNA is completely wrong.
While toying with blocks one day, he claims to have
stumbled across a design that is structurally sounder,
but still conforms to the known parameters of DNA.
Does this mean that Drs. James Watson and Francis
Crick were wrong?
Curtis's new molecule resembles a spiral staircase
wrapped around a decagon (ten-sided figure). Each
side of the decagon is made of two base pairs shaped
like pentagons and stacked atop each other. In his
model, adenine still bonds to thymine and guanine
to cytosine. Curtis says that this design, rather
than the traditional double helix with base pair
"rungs," is more natural and beautiful.
Most scientists, however, do not believe in Curtis's
model or ideas. For one thing, they say, his theory
is not based on any scientific evidence and is,
therefore, only an artist's conception. Science
does support the original double helix theory, though,
which Watson and Crick first put forth in 1953.
Surprisingly, one of the key supporters of Curtis's
model is Maurice Wilkins who worked closely with
Watson and Crick in the 1950s and shared their Nobel
prize. Wilkins believes that the artist's design
better conforms to nature, and that science should
always be open to new ideas. He says that only from
a narrow-minded standpoint does Curtis's model appear