Trace back to the origins of the DNA ‘s double-helix structure and discover the truth behind the mind responsible for the theory’s conception – and learn why she was not credited for her discovery.
First published on Passions, Vol. 46, this article has been repurposed for the digital world – exclusive only on VOICE OF ASIA.
Genetic research has progressed in leaps and bounds. And the lady who made critical contributions to the understanding of the fine molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was none other than Rosalind Elsie Franklin.
In 1950, Franklin was invited to King’s College, London to be part of a team of scientists researching living cells, assigned to work on DNA with another graduate student, Maurice Wilkins. While Franklin made marked advances in X-ray diffraction technique with DNA by adjusting her equipment to produce an extremely fine beam of X-rays, enabling her to discover vital keys in DNA structure, unknown to her, Wilkins shared Franklin’s data with Francis Crick and James Watson. And they ultimately published the proposed double-helix structure of DNA in 1953, which won them a Nobel Prize. They claimed the glory and did not credit her for the information her discoveries provided… and she was only recognised years later, when scientists realised the significance of her material, on which the final helix model was based.
We are now in the era of genetic engineering, gene therapy for diseases previously deemed untreatable, and stem cell research. These have become common, everyday terms that even laypeople are familiar with. All of these discoveries would never have been possible were it not for Rosalind Franklin.