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Rosalind Franklin: discovering the structure of DNA

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Stephanie H Chen

on 8 June 2014

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Transcript of Rosalind Franklin: discovering the structure of DNA

British molecular biologist and X-ray crystallographer whose research led to discovery of double helix structure of DNA
1951 - fine focus X-ray tube and microcamera used to study DNA fibres and reaction to dry and humid conditions
X-ray diffraction pictures led to belief that DNA is helical in structure
Initial research and presentation of Type A and Type B molecule vastly important in development of Watson and Crick model of DNA and constituted basis for all further models of DNA molecule
Photo 51 critical evidence in identifying the structure of DNA
Rosalind Elsie Franklin
Experimental work and findings
Impact of work
Thanks for watching!
Zoom for bibliography
Discovering DNA's structure
Allows development of new ideas in environment that is conducive to progress and provides different perspectives
Collaboration is crucial as an in-depth understanding of relevant branches required
Without X-ray diffraction photo 51 and research, the helical structure of DNA would be unknown to Crick and Watson, delaying or halting their research
Collaboration and communication
University of California Museum of Paleontology n.d., Credit and debt, viewed 4 June 2014, undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/dna_13
Elkin, LO 2003, ‘Rosalind Franklin and the double helix’, Scitation, AIP Publishing, Physics Today, viewed 4 June 2014, scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/article/56/3/10.1063/1.1570771
Grady, D 2003, ‘A Revolution at 50; 50 Years Later, Rosalind Franklin’s X-Ray Fuels Debate’, The New York Times, February 25 2003, viewed 2 June 2014, New York Times archives, www.nytimes.com
Nightingale, K 2013, Behind the picture: Photo 51, Medical Research Council, viewed 4 June 2014, www.insight.mrc.ac.uk/2013/04/25/behind-the-picture-photo-51/
DNA Learning Centre, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory n.d., Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958), viewed 2 June 2014, www.dnaftb.org/19/bio-3.html
Western Great Blue Hill (WGBH) n.d., Rosalind Franklin, viewed 2 June 2014, www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/bofran.html
Scitable by Nature Education n.d., Rosalind Franklin: A Crucial Contribution, viewed 4 June 2014, www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/rosalind-franklin-a-crucial-contribution-6538012
Nobel Media AB, The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1962 2013, viewed 4 June 2014, www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1962/
Profiles in Science, National Library of Medicine n.d., The Rosalind Franklin Papers 2012, viewed 2 June 2014, profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/Narrative/KR/p-nid/183
DNA strand stretched across paperclip and mounted on cork; x-rays sent through and diffracted paths captured on sensitised paper, creating Photo 51
'X' in centre of
Photo 51
caused by helical shape of DNA molecules in sample
Notebook entries showed that Franklin:
(a) recognised B form of DNA likely to have a two-chained helix
(b) was aware of the Chargaff ratios relating to bases
(c) knew nitrogenous bases were in the keto configuration
(d) determined backbone chains of A-form DNA are antiparallel

Watson shown photo by Wilkins without the approval or knowledge of Franklin and developed model for DNA molecule alongside Crick
Not formally recognised for work
Died in 1958 before 1962 Nobel Prize
Depicted negatively in Watson's
The Double Helix
Published in same 1953 issue of
as Watson and Crick but at that point, it was a postscript.
Nonetheless a seminal figure in developing understanding of DNA and its structure
Implications for Franklin
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1962 was awarded jointly to Francis Harry Compton Crick, James Dewey Watson and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins
for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material.
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