Monday, May 16, 2011

Race for the Double Helix

Throughout the past two days our biology class watched the movie “The Race for the Double Helix”. It is the story of how James Watson, Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkens came to discover the double helix in DNA.
After reading the 1953 article of what the scientists came about when they found the double helix, answered a lot of different questions. One of those questions would be the significance of the structure of the double helix. The significance would be that the structure has two helical chains coiled around the same axis. The two chains are related by a dyad perpendicular to the fibre axis. Both of the chains follow to the right of the helix and the phosphates that are on the outside. The structure overall is an open one and the water content was high and the two chains are held together by purine and pyrimidine basis. And they have a certain ration which is 1:1:6:6. This is significant because it was different than anything the scientists even thought of back in the early 1900s. And having Watson and Crick find this was truly an astounding scientific event.
The triple helix didn’t work because DNA actually only has two helix’s. The triple helix would’ve never worked due to the fact that they phosphates were arranged on the outside and the bases on the inside and they were linked together by the hydrogen bonds. And when they took X-rays of it they saw a salt and not a free acid. Without the free acid the structure would not hold together.
The novel feature of the Watson - Crick Model is that the structure had two helical chains each coiled around the same axis. Both of the chains follow right helices and maintain the same sequence. The phosphates are on the outside of the helix and the sugars near the base. And since the phosphates are on the outside the cations have easy access to them. And since the structure is an open one, the water content is high. The main thing, though, is that the two chains are held together by purine and pyrimidine bases.
The sequence of one side of DNA determines the other side because there are two sets of pairs. A – T and C – G. So if one side is ACGT then the other would be TGCA. They can only pair with each other, thus determining the other side’s DNA format.

DISCLAIMER – I found my information from

Friday, May 6, 2011

In an interview with James Watson, 74, he talked about the discovery of the structure of DNA. But it wasn't just him to discover the structure. It was also Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkens and...Rosalind Franklin? Now, I didn't know that she had helped discover the structure of DNA until I read this article. It kind of astonished me. But the real question is, why didn't I know? I mean she helped shape the structure of our future in DNA science and she isn't even acknowledged as one of the people that helped discover it's structure.

Now, listen here folks. This poor lady got jipped on a Nobel Prize that the other 3 guys got. Now, I don't think that is fair. If it wasn't for her they wouldn't of even discovered the double helix in the first place! I understand why people are making the claims that she was left out of the spot light, because she was! It is a horrible thing and the poor lady just did not get any credit.

I don't think that she got the credit that she deserves at all, why? Because when we think of the discovery of the double helix we don't think of Mrs. Franklin. And I think we should due to the fact she had greatly contributed it to, again, we wouldn't even know about it if it weren't for her.

 Yes this controversy has arose elsewhere. It happens everyday. One current example is Facebook. The two Winklevoss twins that had helped Mark Zuckerberg form the website but in turn didn't get any credit for helping him. It's just one example of many.

Scientists can prevent this type of controversy in the future by telling everyone who was involved and what they did. It's the only fair way to get the word out and to help everyone get the recognition that they should.

Now this is why she is called the Dark Lady of DNA. ;)