History Lecture for Unit 60: Unravelling the Structure of DNA
- Period: 1900-1970
For the interactive timelines, click on an image to bring it into focus and read notes.
Click on the icon to bring up the timeline in a separate browser window. You can then resize the window to make it easier to read the information.
Click here: Timeline PDF to bring up the timeline as a PDF document. You can then click on the individual events to see more information if you want. Exploring this version of the timeline is optional!
- Geographic Location: Europe and America
- People to know: George Beadle and Edward Tatem, Hershey and Chase, Francis Crick and James Watson
- See science topics: DNA Structure and Genetic Inheritance
The Discovery of DNA
The story of the discovery of DNA is one of the great tales of the human scientific endeavor. For a century, many people experimented, published, and debated the original and structure of the chemicals which control inheritance of particular characteristics and the functions of the cell.
We are going to use a couple of websites; the first is a high school biology class timeline, and the second is a short history of biology section for a junior college course. Be sure to study the diagrams and pictures in the second.
DNA History of Discovery
- Identify the discovery of each of the following people, and be able to show how it contributed to the eventual understanding of the function and structure of DNA:
- 1860s: Friedrich Meischer
- 1908: Archibald Garrod
- 1928: Frederick Griffith
- 1940s: Beadle and Tatum
- 1944: Avery, MacLeod, McCarty
- 1952: Hershey and Chase
- 1953: Rosalind Franklin and MHF Wilkins
- 1953: Francis Crick and James Watson
- What is DNA? Where in the cell is it found?
- What experimental proof showed that particular gene controlled at least one particular trait?
- What experimental proof determined whether DNA or proteins carried the "inheritance information"?
- What experimental evidence did Rosalind Franklin assemble?
- How did Watson and Crick interpret Franklin's evidence?
Further Study/On Your Own
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