April 25th 1953 is a day to remember. That’s the day DNA’s double-helical structure was published for the first time in a paper by James Watson and Francis Crick. The paper, printed in the journal Nature, together with papers from Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, included evidence that the structure existed in biological systems (1,2,3). Further evidence followed a few months later on how base pairing in the double helix allowed DNA replication, and described the distinctions between the A and B structures of the DNA double helix (4,5). In 1962 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material (6).
Another great achievement happened in April 2003, 50 years later – the successful completion of the Human Genome Project. This was an international, collaborative research program whose goal was to map and sequence all the genes of the entire human genome. After that, April 25th was chosen to mark these achievements in science and medicine every year, because so many research fields are now benefitting from them. For example, in molecular medicine, mapping of the human genome has led to:
• a better understanding of how genes affect disease
• earlier detection of genetic predispositions to disease
• improved diagnosis of disease
• better personalized therapies and control systems for drugs
In the future, we expect that understanding the human genome will have an enormous impact in areas like microbial genomics, human evolution, human migration, agriculture and livestock breeding and even risk assessment – for instance, when assessing the risks posed to individuals by exposure to environmental agents.
QIAGEN’s new technologies and Sample to Insight solutions are accelerating progress and enabling scientists to conduct more advanced research than was previously possible. We hope to boost your success, perhaps helping you achieve breakthroughs in life science as big as Watson, Crick, et al.
1. Watson, J.D., Crick F.H. (1953) Molecular structure of nucleic acids; a structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid, Nature 171, 737-8 Link (PMID 13054692)
2. Wilkins M.H. et al. (1953) Molecular structure of deoxypentose nucleic acids, Nature 171, 738-40 Link (PMID 13054693)
3. Franklin R.E., Gosling R.G. (1953) Molecular configuration in sodium thymonucleate, Nature 171, 740-1 Link (PMID 13054694)
4. Watson, J.D., Crick F.H. (1953) Genetical implications of the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, Nature 171, 964-7 Link (PMID 13063483)
5. Franklin R.E., Gosling R.G. (1953) Evidence for 2-chain helix in crystalline structure of sodium deoxyribonucleate, Nature 172, 156-7 Link (PMID 13072614)
6. “The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1962”. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Link