This year, the world is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix. Comment on how this eternal molecule has influenced on history, medicine and art. Has it been a positive or a negative influence on the well being of mankind and why?.
In 1953, James D Watson and Francis Crick announced that they have discovered the secret of life, the double helical structure of DNA. Their claim set a revolution that continues much to this day. More fascinating still, is that so much has and is still being discovered about DNA while the two discoverers are still very much alive and active. According to the New York Times print edition on February 25th 2003, Dr Crick published an article on the nature of consciousness just this month'. Hence, we should take this opportunity to analyse how DNA has influenced the world in this 50 years and whether its influence has brought about a positive or negative impact for us all. .
The discovery of the DNA has definitely influenced history. In the race to discover the chemical structure of DNA, Dr Linus Pauling and Dr Robert Corey had deduced that some proteins were shaped in the form of an alpha helix and proposed that DNA was composed of three of these helixes twisted together. However, Francis and Crick rejected his statement with their discovery of the double helical structure. Hence, without their discovery, the structure of DNA would have been seriously flawed.
The genome era began in May 1995 when Dr J Craig Venter decoded the DNA of a single cell bacterium Haemophilus Influenzae. Since then more than a hundred organisms have been successfully decoded. Hence, with whole decoded genomes available for study, scientists can test Darwin's theory of natural selection, one theory which Darwin never actually experimented physically.
Due to the discovery of DNA, we cannot deny that it has greatly influenced medicine. DNA, after years of research and polishing, is evolving from a pure science to a science which can actually be applied.