'Code of Life' celebrates fiftieth anniversary of discovery
We're tracking cancer and genetic diseases, catching criminals decades after the crime goes cold, growing hardier crops and learning more about our place in the animal kingdom.
And it all started with James Watson and Francis Crick. Fifty years ago today, Crick walked into a pub and described the idea that would later bring him and Watson the Nobel Prize. The simple structure of the gene had eluded scientists, who knew what DNA was made of, but not how it was put together. The double helix was the birth of the genetics age, explaining both shape and function of the mysterious transmitter of data from one generation to another.
"When we saw the answer we had to pinch ourselves," Watson said, "Could it really be this pretty? When we went to lunch [at the pub] we realised it probably was true because it was so pretty."