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Molecular Basis of Heredity: Part 1. Nucleic Acids

Author(s): Raye L. Alford, PhD

The Molecular Basis of Heredity: Structures and Functions of Nucleic Acids

In this slide set, we will explore the structures and functions of nucleic acids, including DNA and RNA, and their roles within cells.

The image on this slide is a photograph of the model of the DNA molecule built by Drs. James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953. Drs. Watson and Crick used this model to depict their proposed structure for the DNA double helix. The hypothesized structure was derived from X-ray diffraction data produced by Drs. Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin. The model was constructed from metal scraps obtained from a machine shop.

Drs. Watson and Crick published their proposed DNA structure in the journal, Nature, on April 2, 1953 (Volume 171, page 737). For their work, Drs. Watson, Crick and Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. Dr. Franklin died before 1962. Since Nobel Prizes are awarded only to living individuals, she could not be honored.