April 25, 1953, is a day to remember. That’s the day, sixty-five years ago, that 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). A few months later, the Cambridge scientists showed 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).
Fifty years later, the Human Genome Project was completed successfully. This international, collaborative research program set up to map and sequence all the genes of the entire human genome. April 25 was chosen to mark these achievements in science and medicine every year, because so many research fields now benefit from them. In molecular medicine, for example, mapping of the human genome has led to:
• 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
Understanding the human genome will have an enormous impact in areas such as 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 genotyping solutions are accelerating progress and enabling scientists to conduct more advanced research and get more reproducible results than was previously possible. To speed up your genotyping experiments and correctly interpret your results, try our simplified, automated solutions. They’re the best way to gain valuable insights at the first attempt. For more information, get our genotyping flyer.
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