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New findings on Rosalind Franklin's role in discovering the structure of DNA

An article published in Nature details Franklin's part in the discovery of the "backbone" of the DNA molecule. However due to the competition between the groups she avoided publishing a large part of them herself, also Watson and Crick had access to her experiments

Rosalind Franklin during her stay in France. Photo: from Wikipedia
Rosalind Franklin during her stay in France. Photo: from Wikipedia

Rosalind Franklin, a British biophysicist, contributed greatly to the discovery of the structure of DNA, but her role in the discovery was largely ignored until the publication of James Watson's book, "The Double Helix", which presented her in a negative light. However, recent research has shed light on the importance of Franklin's work. This is according to an article published in the scientific journal Nature.

Franklin's main contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA was her use of X-ray crystallography to obtain high-quality images of the molecule. Her images were essential in revealing the helical structure of DNA, which was key to understanding how genetic information is stored and transmitted.

Franklin's analysis of the X-ray images led her to hypothesize that the sugar-phosphate backbone of the DNA molecule was on the outside of the helix, and this was an important insight that helped confirm the structure of the molecule.

Furthermore, Franklin's work played a crucial role in correcting erroneous assumptions of other scientists who were also working on the structure of DNA. For example, her images helped disprove the idea that DNA has a triple helix structure, as proposed by Nobel laureate Linus Pauling.

Despite her significant contribution, Franklin's role in discovering the structure of DNA was not widely recognized during her lifetime. Her work has often overshadowed that of James Watson and Francis Crick, who are credited with discovering the double helix structure of DNA.

It is important to note that Watson and Crick had access to Franklin's data and were aware of her conclusions at the time they made their discovery.

Another major factor contributing to this neglect was the tense and competitive scientific environment in which Franklin and her colleagues worked. At that time there were several different research groups around the world working on the problem of the structure of DNA, and there was a lot of pressure to be the first to make a breakthrough. This led to a certain degree of secrecy and tension between the different groups, making it difficult for researchers to share their data and findings.

Another factor was Franklin's own personality and her approach to scientific research. Franklin was known for being very focused on her work, and not particularly interested in collaborating or discussing her ideas with others. This led her to sometimes be isolated from her colleagues and work independently on her own projects.

Finally, it is likely that there was some degree of sexism and gender bias in the way Franklin was treated by her male colleagues, including Watson and Crick. At the time, women were often not taken as seriously as men in the scientific community, and were sometimes excluded from important conversations and decisions. This may have contributed to Franklin's work being underappreciated or overlooked by some of her male colleagues.

It is important to note, however, that Watson and Crick eventually recognized the importance of Franklin's work in discovering the structure of DNA, and publicly credited her contribution in their Nobel Prize acceptance speeches in 1962. In later years. Watson in particular expressed regret for the way he described Franklin in his book "The Double Helix", and admitted that her work helped with the discoveries.

More of the topic in Hayadan:

4 תגובות

  1. There is no gender bias. Women are neither a gender nor a gender identity. Women are a sex/pair.
    And the bias is in favor of men and against women, when the findings show that women are more successful and have a more developed brain.
    The bias stems from a reproductive strategy and as part of the desire to rule over women and humiliate them.
    It was widely known that Rosaline discovered the double helix and not the two clowns.

  2. In my opinion, it is embarrassing to write new findings in the title and make a copy paste from old letters.. I will not read anything more than "Hidan"

  3. "At that time, women were not taken seriously" ... meaning from the dawn of history until today?

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