1953 discovery of DNA structure


The use of DNA in genealogy has advanced to a point where great strides have been made in the use of autosomal DNA to determine relationships across family lines. SpittalStreet.com remembered the important anniversary of 1953 discovery of double-helix structure of DNA.

The exploration of DNA is dated back in 1868, when a young Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher, isolated something white from the nuclei of cells. He named the compound “nuclein.” This is today called nucleic acid, the “NA” in DNA (deoxyribo-nucleic-acid) and RNA (ribo-nucleic-acid). Molecular techniques were developed almost one hundred years later.

On February 28, 1953, two scientists at Cambridge University, England,  James Watson and Frances Crick, announced that they had discovered the double-helix structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)—the molecule containing the human, animal, plants and other  organisms’ genes. The Nobel Prize was awarded to Watson, Crick and Wilkins for this discovery. At this occasion we would like to mention prof. dr. Karl Maramorosch, who has been using molecular knowledge about DNA since the same period. He witnessed and documented the great discovery of DNA and the research work o James D. Watson.  At the age of 97, this renowned plant pathologist, entomologist and virologist from the United States (US) still carries out his research work (born January 16, 1915, in Vienna, Austria) guiding his juniors in virology, entomology and plant pathology.

In personal communication with Karl Maramorosch we have recently discovered that his roots are also in Slovenia. He believes that his maternal grandfather, Dragutin Schlesinger, was born in Slovenia. As he still keeps his school certificate when he was 14 years old and lived in a small town in Slovenia. The surname Schlesinger (Šlezinger) is still represented in Savinja valley in Slovenia. In 1934, after finishing his high school, Karl Maramorosch applied, and was accepted, to the Medical Faculty in Ljubliana. He did not go there, because only the first 2 years were given in Ljubliana (Slovenia), followed by the remaining years in Zagreb (Croatia), and he was afraid that he will have difficulties adjusting to two related, but slightly different, languages at the two places. He finished his studies in Poland and Romania and then left for USA. In his early life, Maramorosch wished to become a pianist and underwent training till the age of 19. Ending up as a scientist, he still plays it and participates in public performances as well. He even said that his research was needed to be carried out further as it could help the humanity, animals and plants from causing injuries to each other by spreading diseases to each other!
Inspired Via spittalstreet.com

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