In 1953, Francis Crick and his research colleague James Watson deciphered the molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), ie the structure of the genome, and developed a spatial model of the double helix. This discovery is still considered a revolution in molecular biology, which was also crucial for the developments in genetic engineering.
The two researchers showed that the DNA consists of two molecular rows, which, lying opposite each other, twist into a double strand, the so-called double helix. On February 28, 1953, Watson and Crick assembled the first model of the wire and cardboard twin helix at the Cavendish Laboratory (Cambridge, UK, UK) for the research of the molecular structure of biological systems.
Secret of life in the DNA
For the first time they created a plastic picture of how the genetic material of the organisms is actually structured: in the form of two interlaced rope ladder molecules with only four elements - the bases adenine (A) and thymine (T) as well as guanine (G) and cytosine (C). With the Crick-Watson model, the foundation was laid for insight into the structure of life.
In 1962, the two Cambridge researchers, together with Maurice Wilkins, who had familiarized the scientists with the measurement method of X-ray crystallography, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Progress in the last 50 years
On the basis of the discovery of Crick and Watson, the entire further procedure in genetic engineering was based. The industrial production of insulin from genetically modified bacteria became possible. First children born outside the womb were born. The first human gene therapy could be performed, and in February 2001, the Human Genome Project (HUGO) and Celera Genomics announced that they had now identified 99 percent of the human genome.