Elucidating the structure of dna
Only 50 miles away, however, a team of scientists at King's College in London was using a relatively new technique called X-ray crystallography to study DNA.One of them, Rosalind Franklin, succeeded in taking an X-ray diffraction pattern from a sample of DNA that showed a clearly recognizable cross or helical shape.The second, Francis Crick, was a 37-year-old British physicist who, according to one of his scientific rivals, looked like "a bookmaker's rout." With booming voices and youthful bravado, the odd duo bragged that they, in the words of Francis Crick -- or at least in the memory of James Watson recalling the words of Francis Crick -- "We have discovered the secret of life." Indeed, they had.
In 1944, a trio of scientists, Oswald Avery, Colin Macleod, and Maclyn Mc Carty, determined that DNA was the "transforming principle," the substance that carries genetic information.Nevertheless, there remained many naysayers who felt that the chemical composition of DNA was far too simple to carry such complex data and, instead, argued that proteins must contain the true genetic material.