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The double helix structure of the DNA was an astonishing long awaited

discovery that had a major impact on the world of science. Some venture to say that it is the single greatest discovery of all times.

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The film “DNA: The Secret of Life” shows that the DNA structure was not simply stumbled upon. It seems that when there comes a right time in history for a new discovery, the problem at hand occupies several researches at the same time, and it almost becomes a race between several leading scientists of the time. The same case was with the DNA structure discovery. The first team searching for the complex DNA structure included Jim Watson and Francis Crick, young scientists from CambridgeUniversity. Not many people understood their methods and goals. In fact, Watson and Francis were considered lazy, loafers, and time wasters, even within the circle of Cambridge professors. The two scientists would have long conversations which led to most of their discoveries. Based on their conversations and conclusions, Watson and Francis would then attempt to find the DNA structure by building models. This team would study a bit of everything, including the works and theories of their opponents.

An esteemed chemist from California, Linus Pauling, began studying the DNA in a similar way. He would build models of atoms and molecules to scale based on their physical capabilities and then attempted to piece them together. A Nobel Prize laureate, Linus could have been considered the favorite of the race. However, the problem was that Pauling did not have as much information available as his British colleagues, particularly pictures from Kings’ University.

Kings was a highly respected institution, which had cutting-edge technology and funding for scientific researches at the time. Kings’ team of scientists discovering the nature of the DNA comprised of Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin. They tried to identify the DNA structure by analyzing X-ray diffractions of the DNA molecule.

Crick and Watson’s inquisitiveness eventually led them to discover the nature of A-T and C-G correlations. Then, Watson met Wilkins who generously showed him Jim Rosalind’s photos indicating that the DNA had a shape of a double helix, or spiral. After that, it was a matter of fitting the puzzle pieces together, and Watson and Crick announced that they had finally succeeded in discovering something that which many had sought long and hard.

The news of the discovery spread fast. In 1962, Watson, Crick, and Wilkins received the Nobel Prize. Franklin did not as she died of cancer in 1958, and the Nobel Prize is not awarded posthumous.

This discovery has deeply impacted the fields of science and biology. Scientists now address many problems taking into consideration the structure, nature, and functions of the DNA. Since the amazing discovery, new directions and areas of science and technology have developed. Because of this, our understanding of genetics has grown vastly. The DNA structure discovery has changed and deeply affected scientific circles. Some aspects of society will never be the same again. Potentially, this could be the most important scientific effort ever conducted by humans which could define the biological future of mankind.

The structure of DNA, its functions, and other connected issues is just one area of biological research and discovery. There is a vast amount of information, resources, and knowledge yet untapped and waiting to be discovered. However, I think that there could be a logical end to how far the studies should go. I find genetic engineering as something not to be toyed with, and “playing God” is a dangerous game. It is good to know what life is based on and how everything works, but I do not think it is a good idea to try to change and modify it. I think there are certain boundaries beyond which we are not meant to go. However, the quest for knowledge will always continue, and it is the application of the knowledge that has to be carefully considered. Mr. Wilkins, a scientist that contributed to DNA discovery, experienced it firsthand. He participated in working on atomic bomb; however, realizing catastrophic consequences of the creation, he decided to work on something that would contribute to life.

I think that there are many biological discoveries yet to be made, just as we see many samples of amazing discoveries being made throughout the history even in the well-researched fields of science. There have always been new things to discover and explore. For example, the search for the smallest particles and “building blocks” of our universe has been continuing for centuries. Humans discovered molecules, then atoms which consist of electrons, protons and neutrons, which in turn are composed from quarks. Quarks are being studied today. Theories suggest that quarks are made of strings or some sort of energy.  So, the desire to improve life and find out more about world we are living in will always be driving scientists in their new researches and discoveries.

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