The structure of DNA, that Watson and Crick discovered, suggests how genetic information is passed on.
Duration: 48 seconds
The structure of DNA, that Watson and Crick discovered, suggests how genetic information is passed on. Before a cell divides, the double helix unwinds and the two strands of the DNA molecule in the nucleus separate. Each strand is then used as a template for the construction of new DNA molecules. The replication of DNA is simple in theory, but much more complicated in reality. The precise details have only recently been worked out. Take a look of the animation called "Mechanism of Replication" to see what actually happens at the molecular level.
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DNA base pairs
James Watson and Francis Crick, Cambridge University, 1953
The DNA molecule is shaped like a twisted ladder.
James Watson talks about RNA's role in the cell.
James Watson and Francis Crick's 1953 Nature paper.
DNA polymerase and an experiment using nitrogen isotopes prove DNA replication.
1953 picture of Francis Crick (L) and James Watson (R) walking along the backs of King's College in Cambridge.
Because it contains the directions for assembling the components of the cell, DNA is often thought of as the "instruction book" for assembling life.
Image of DNA helix model (closeup).