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ERIC Number: EJ824476
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Nov
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Rosalind Franklin: Unsung Hero of the DNA Revolution
Rapoport, Sarah
History Teacher, v36 n1 p116-127 Nov 2002
On April 25, 1953, three papers were published in "Nature," the prestigious scientific journal, which exposed the "fundamentally beautiful" structure of DNA to the public, and sounded the starting gun of the DNA Revolution. The authors of these papers revealed the now-famous double-helix structure of DNA, thereby unlocking the secret code of the human gene. Knowledge and understanding of DNA's structure would revolutionize the way scientists attack diseases of the human body, allowing them to "see" and to "read" the body's coded information on heredity. Before the 1950s, scientists suspected but possessed no actual knowledge of the structure of DNA, though they had elementary knowledge of heredity from such scientists as Gregor Mendel. The race to discover the structure of DNA was run by many scientists. The most notable were Linus Pauling, an American chemist working at Cal Tech; James Watson, an American biologist and Francis Crick, a British physicist, both working at Cambridge; and Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, X-ray crystallographers working at King's College, London. This article describes Rosalind Franklin's discovery, and reveals Maurice Wilkins' treachery in secretly showing to her rival, James Watson, her famous X-ray photograph of the "B form" (also referred to as the "wet" form) of the DNA molecule, which unlocked the code that Watson was desperately seeking. The intense personal drama that surrounded the race to unlock DNA's structure highlights this discovery's scientific importance. It is sometimes forgotten that it is the inspired labor of hardworking, individual people that catapults a discovery to its next level, incidentally "making history." This article describes such a revolutionary discovery. (Contains 84 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Cambridge); United Kingdom (London)