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Cracking the Code of Life
Understanding heredity
de Maupertuis
Crick & Watson
Genome Project
Shown shortly after winning the Nobel Prize in 1962, Harvard biology professor James Watson displays a model of DNA in his laboratory.

b. 1916 Francis Harry Compton Crick
b. 1928 James Dewey Watson

British biophysicist Francis Crick and American geneticist James Watson undertook a joint inquiry into the structure of DNA in 1951. Geneticists already knew that DNA held the primary role in determining the structure and function of each cell in the body, but they did not understand the mechanism for this or that the structure of DNA was directly involved in the genetic process. Employing X-rays and molecular models, Watson and Crick discovered the double helix structure of DNA. Suddenly they could explain how the DNA molecule duplicates itself by forming a sister strand to complement each single, ladder-like DNA template. Watson and Crick's groundbreaking research paved the way for all of the major genetic discoveries of the last half-century. They received the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

Watch the Program Here | Our Genetic Future (A Survey)
Manipulating Genes: How Much is Too Much? | Understanding Heredity
Explore a Stretch of Code | Nature vs Nurture Revisited
Sequence for Yourself | Journey into DNA | Meet the Decoders
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