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Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the molecule that carries our genetic information, is known as the blueprint for life. Coiled into a tight spiral, DNA is present in the chromosomes of all our cells, where a host of proteins and other molecules read the genes and translate them into bodily functions.

The shape of DNA, a ‘double helix,’ is now a familiar symbol. James Watson and Francis Crick, who discovered this structure in the 1950s after a tight race against other scientists, were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962, together with Maurice Wilkins. Much later, Watson suggested that Rosalind Franklin, who died in 1958, also deserved a Nobel Prize for her contribution. But Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously.

Knowledge of DNA is also important in the search for targeted medicines, which work only where they are needed. This means they can be used in lower concentrations and have fewer side effects. Years of exciting research still lie ahead in order to fine-tune this technique.

Last modified:12 April 2021 1.22 p.m.
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