History of DNA


Everything we know about DNA is thanks to these individuals.

Gregor Mendel

Mendel was known as the "father of genetics". He was born in Austria in 1822. He is known for his discoveries involving plant heredity. He used pea plants to conduct his studies and bring out a new idea that genes (traits) from the parent plants were passed down to their offspring. This is an early discovery involving DNA. DNA is a big part of heredity. Mendel's discovery provided information for later scientists to work off of; help discover more about DNA.

Frederick Griffith

Griffith was born in 1879, five years before Mendel died. Griffith is the one who essentially discovered that DNA was the source of transferred genetic material in 1928. Mendel discovered that genes were passed down through generations, and Griffith found the cause of that was DNA. His findings go on to inspire other scientists to discover more about DNA and genes.

Oswald Avery

Avery was born on October 21, 1877 in Canada. He is known best for how he isolated DNA as the material from which genes and chromosomes are made in 1944. Avery was continuing research done by Griffith about how DNA is the source of genetic material. Avery conducted an experiment similar to the one done by Griffith, but using an enzyme to remove the DNA from the virus in the experiment. The results proved Griffiths work.

Erwin Chargaff

Erwin Chargaff, born on August 11, 1905 also in Austria. Chargaff's big discovery took place in 1950. He discovered similarities in the base pairs of DNA. He found that the amount of adenine is equal to the amount of thymine in a strand of DNA, and the same for cytosine and guanine. This is known as Chargaff's rule: C=G and T=A. This rule paved the way for many new discoveries involving DNA.

Rosalind Franklin

Franklin was born on July 5, 1920. She got the most fame from her X-ray diffraction images of DNA. These images led to the discovery of the double helix shape of DNA by Watson and Crick on 1953. It is not largely known that Franklin's work may have contributed more to the double helix structure than Watson and Crick gave her credit for.

Maurice Wilkins

Wilkins was born on December 15, 1916. His work is exceedingly similar to Rosalind Franklin's. He developed high quality images of DNA and was involved with Watson and Crick. The images Wilkins produced also helped Watson and Crick along with their development of the double helix structure.

James Watson

Watson was born on April 6, 1928. He worked with Frances Crick to develop the double helix-shaped model of DNA. This shape was discovered in 1953. Their model has become the shape people think of when they think of DNA, it's double helix structure instantly recognizable.

Frances Crick

Crick was born on June 8, 1916. He was partners with James Watson in the discovery of the double helix model in 1953. Him. Watson, and Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology of Medicine for their discoveries in the DNA field of study.