Crick's letter referred to an account of the debate between Donohue and Maurice Wilkins and colleagues about the determination
of DNA structure by Fourier synthesis of X-ray diffraction data published by an unnamed correspondent in the May 2, 1970 issue
of Nature (vol.226, p. 404), and to Donohue's response (Nature, vol. 227, July 18, 1970, p.317).
Crick did not in fact publish the "considered article" he announced in his letter. However, in a retrospective, "The
Double Helix: A Personal View," published in the April 26, 1974, issue of Molecular Biology (vol. 248, p.768), Crick
summarized that Donohue, "whose advice was crucial to our understanding of base pairing, was a persistent critic of the
validity of the later X-ray work, but in recent years he had carried it too far, refusing, for example, to admit as evidence
the great accumulation of data showing that the two chains are antiparallel."
Number of Image Pages:
1 (54,487 Bytes)
1970-08-03 (August 3, 1970)
Original Repository: Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
I was not surprised that you felt you had to reply to Nature's remarks, but I feel it was a pity that you had to repeat
that I did not understand the nature of diffraction, since it is quite clear to me that you did not understand what I meant
by effectively centric. I have spoken to John Maddox on the 'phone. Rather than write a hasty letter in reply to yours,
I agreed to write a considered article setting out the points at issue as I see them. However, for this I need to know your
views on the relative ease of making mistakes for centric and non-centric structures, so that I do not misrepresent you.
Could you, therefore, let me have a reply to this point as set out in my last letter (if you have not already done so)?