Thursday, 25 April 2013

DNA @ 60

From DNA to gene manipulation the events from 60 years ago today have gone a long way to revolutionise medical applications by exploring our genes.  It was on 25th April 1953 that John Watson and Francis Crick published their discovery of the DNA structure in the nature journal for which they later received a Nobel Prize for. Although rarely mentioned there were other contributors to this breakthrough in the persons of Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins with the latter also being recognised for his contributions but not the former due to her passing away at the early age of 37 to ovarian cancer. 

With the structure of the DNA deciphered, scientist have since moved on to complete the human genome and given birth to a host of DNA applications.

Thanks to DNA profiling it is now possible to trace relations, prove paternity/maternity and solve crimes. Gene testing can now help identify an individual’s susceptibility to a disease. The applications of gene therapy and recombinant DNA technology in medicine and from which other technologies have evolved remain endless. 

So raise your glasses to Francis, John, Maurice and Rosalind as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the double helix and take a moment to ponder over what the future holds for DNA manipulation and medicine.  

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