News, Culture & Society

WHO IS JAMES WATSON? | Daily Mail Online

Jame Watson is one half of the most iconic scientific double acts of all time, Watson and Crick. 

The scientists are revered for their role in the discovery of the structure of DNA.  

The American biologist was born in Chicago in 1928 and attended the University of Chicago for his undergraduate degree before getting his PhD from Indiana university in 1950. 

He worked at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Cambridge in the early stages of his career.

Roles later on in life include the Biology department at Harvard University and helping to establish The Human Genome Project.

It was during his work at the Cavendish laboratory in Cambridge where he met Dr Francis Crick, a British scientist originally from Northampton. 

This pair started work on understanding the structure of DNA, the molecule which contains the genetic information for every organism in the world. 

With help from Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins from UCL, the pair unearthed the double-helix structure of DNA – deoxyribosenucleic acid. 

They saw, using the famous, photograph 51 developed by Rosalind Franklin, that the four base pairs of DNA (Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine and Thymine) connect together.

These are known scientifically as nucleic acids.  

Based on the structure and size of the chemical, each base can only bind with a specific, or complimentary, other base. 

Purines Adenine and Guanine bind with pyrimidines Thymine and Cytosine, respectively. 

A-T forms two hydrogen bonds, whilst C-G forms three, making the C-G a slightly stronger connection. 

The team found that this arrangement is supported by a ‘backbone’, formed primarily of phosphorous. 

The backbone alternates between a phosphorous group and a sugar, known as deoxyribose. 

This discovery revolutionised the understanding of genetics and biology. 

Dr James Watson married Elizabeth Lewis in 1968, and they have two sons together. 

Watson’s eldest son, Rufus, has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and this has been something Dr Watson has spoke passionately about, trying to raise awareness of the condition. and hoping to find a cure. 


Comments are closed.