Structure of DNA found.
|In 1953, British physicist turned
American biochemist James
at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory determined the
structure of DNA, forever changing the study of genetics, and inadvertently creating the
new field of molecular
Crick and Watson used the previous research of scientists to help them determine DNA's structure. It was already known that DNA was made up of nucleotides, which in turn were made up of sugar, phosphate, and one of four bases (adenine, guanine, thymine or cytosine). It was also known at the time that every DNA molecule had equal number of adenine and thymine bases, as well as an equal number of guanine and cytosine bases. X-ray diffraction experiments performed by Maurice Wilkins and Rosalin Franklin showed the presence of two curving strands forming the shape of the DNA molecule. Crick and Watson then proceeded in constructing various 3D models which applied these bits of previously known information until they correctly came upon the coiled double helix structure of DNA.
For their discovery, Watson, Crick and Wilkins were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology.