MadSci Network: Cell Biology

Re: How was DNA first discovered?

Area: Cell Biology
Posted By: Glenn Bauer, Faculty Biology, Saint Michael's College
Date: Sat Sep 27 13:36:23 1997
Area of science: Cell Biology
ID: 874958081.Cb

DNA was first discovered way back in 1869 by Johann Friedrich Miescher. He called his molecule nuclein, but today we know that Miescher's nuclein was actually DNA and RNA. It wasn't until the 1950's that DNA was determined to be the genetic material. This was accomplished by two scientists, Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase, who studied viral replication in bacteria. But the "great" discovery was still to come in 1953 when James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the three-dimensional structure of DNA: a double helix (a double helix looks like a spiral staircase).

It you want to explore more about DNA, you should point your web browser to a site called Access Excellence which was created by Genentech, a genetic engineering firm. Good luck in your future explorations!

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