Discovering the Structure of DNA

Understanding the Code of Life (Part 4: Structure)

At some point in time it became clear (to a small group of scientists) that DNA was where the 'action' was at. The action, in this case, was how cells help direct the form and structure of the various elements that make up living creatures. Our eyes, ears, throats and noses (not to mention birds wings, lions claws and a fishes fin) all need DNA to properly form and develop.

The question was, how does DNA do it? The answer wasn't clear, but it was believed (correctly) that if you could determine the physical structure of DNA then you could begin to answer that question. The same is true for our desire to understand what DNA is and what it does. If we can understand the structure of the molecule and why it has the shape it does, we can begin what it is and how it functions.

As such, there is no better place to begin our study of DNA then with the story of how we discovered the structure of DNA. It is a fascinating story in and of itself, but it is also one that opens our eyes to one of the most remarkable scientific discoveries ever and what that discovery means.

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