Genetical Implications of the Structure of Deoxyribonucleic Acid
Watson and Crick did not elaborate on their proposed mechanism of genetic replication in their original paper on the double
helix of DNA, both in order to expedite publication and because Watson, in particular, harbored lingering fears, soon to be
laid to rest, that the structure might prove incorrect. In this article, published five weeks after their original explication
of the double helical structure of DNA, they clarified how the rule that governed the pairing of the bases (that adenine always
bonds with thymine, and likewise guanine with cytosine) meant that the two chains of the DNA molecule were complementary,
that the sequence of the bases on one chain determined the sequence on the other. When the two complementary chains of the
DNA molecule unwound in the course of cell division, each formed a template for the synthesis of a second, complementary chain.
The two new pairs were each a copy of the original pair, providing a mechanism for the exact duplication of the genetic material.
Watson and Crick further posited that the genetic information was encoded in the seemingly random sequence of the bases, although
they did not indicate how this sequence might control the synthesis of proteins, and so did not offer a full theory of genetic
specificity, or take their argument substantially beyond that of their original Nature article.
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1953-05-30 (May 30, 1953)
Watson, James D.
Periodical: Watson, James D., and Francis Crick. "Genetical Implications of the Structure of Deoxyribonucleic Acid." Nature 171,
4361 (30 May 1953): 964-967. Article. 4 Images.
Nature Publishing Group
Reproduced with permission of the Nature Publishing Group.