UNRAVELLING THE DOUBLE HELIX: The Lost Heroes of DNA


UNRAVELLING THE DOUBLE HELIX: The Lost Heroes of DNA

GARETH WILLIAMS    Book Number: 88381    Product format: Hardback

Everyone knows that James Watson and Francis Crick revealed to the world the double helix structure of DNA, an enigma that had baffled science for decades, but in reality they clicked into place the final piece - a very big piece, admittedly - of a jigsaw that other researchers had been slowly assembling for decades. People like Maurice Wilkins, whose observations on crystalline DNA from spermatozoa galvanised Watson to crack its structure, and Rosalind Franklin, who generated most of the data that Watson and Crick used (without her knowledge!) to derive their double helix model, came within a whisker of getting there first and then was infamously derided by Watson. These people and other famous names were all there at the "end-game", but what about those who paved the way, men and women who most likely, had they had access to the technology of the 1950s, would surely have beaten W & C to the prize? In this superb examination of the story of DNA, Prof Williams sets the record straight, beginning with Robert Brown's 1833 description of cell nuclei, Gregor Mendel's 1866 studies on inheritance (Mendel was finally cleared of falsifying his data in 2001!) and the first discovery of DNA itself, taken from pus-soaked bandages by Friedrich Miescher in 1868. From then on progress happens in fascinating fits and starts with information arriving from inheritance studies, microscopy and informed deduction, right up to the 1953 photo-finish. It reads like a detective story, full of suspense, false leads, red herrings and treachery with a stellar cast of scientific heroes and back-stabbing weasels. With potted biogs of the dramatis personae, useful timeline and plenty of b/w photos and other illus. 524pp.
Published price: £20
Bibliophile price: £6.50


Additional product information

ISBN 9781474609357
Browse this category: Science & Maths

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