It was one of the most momentous moments in the history of science, but even those people involved didn't know for sure just what its impact would be. 50 Years of DNA, published by Palgrave Macmillan this month, tells the story of how the structure of DNA was discovered, and describes its subsequent impact on science, medicine and culture.
The book includes facsimiles of the landmark paper by James Watson and Francis Crick (pictured far left), along with those by Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin (pictured centre) and their colleagues that first appeared in Nature on 25 April 1953.
Introductory chapters take the reader on a journey from the early days of molecular biology through to the sequencing of the human genome, incorporating interviews with some of the key players. The book concludes with a collection of essays by prominent experts giving their views on the history and significance of Watson and Crick's discovery, along with their predictions of what genetics might achieve in the next 50 years. Edited by Julie Clayton and Carina Dennis, both former editors at Nature, the book celebrates the triumph of the DNA double helix.
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History in the making. Nature 422, 816 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1038/422816b