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Template from Crick and Watson’s DNA molecular model, 1953.

metal template from Crick and Watson's DNA model.

This aluminium template representing the base thymine (T) is part of Crick and Watson’s model of DNA. Bases are those groups of atoms that make up DNA’s twin strands. The bases in each of the strands combines to spell out the organism’s genetic code. DNA was discovered by Francis Crick (b 1916) and James Dewey Watson (b 1928) whilst working in the Medical Research Council Unit at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. In 1953 they constructed a molecular model of the complex genetic material deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Their analysis of the double helix shape of DNA explained how genetic information could be copied and passed from one generation to the next. They were awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology in 1962.

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