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James Watson Explains DNA Basepairing

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Uploaded on Mar 22, 2010

In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick solved the structure of DNA. This beautiful molecule sparked a new era of research into the code of life.
Originally created for DNA Interactive ( http://www.dnai.org )
TRANSCRIPT: The Cavendish shop was to build us some tin models and that took too long. Finally, in desperation, I made some out of cardboard. I began moving them around and I wanted an arrangement, you know, where I had a big and a small molecule and, so, how did you do it? Somehow, you had to form link bonds. So, here is "A" and here's "T" and I wanted this hydrogen to point directly to this nitrogen. So I had something like this...oh! So then I went to other pair and wanted this nitrogen to point to this one, and they went like this, and whoa! They looked the same! You can put one right on top of the other...Even if we go up to the ceiling we're building just a tiny fraction of a molecule. Hundreds of millions of these basepairs in one molecule. All fitting into this wonderful symmetry, which we saw the morning of February 28, 1953.

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