Letter from Jerry Donohue to Francis Crick


Title:
Letter from Jerry Donohue to Francis Crick
Creator:
Donohue, Jerry
Recipient:
Crick, Francis, 1916-2004
Date:
10 August 1970
Description:
In his letter Donohue recited his contention that Fourier analysis of recent X-ray diffraction data did not conclusively prove the validity of Watson's and Crick's model of base-pairing in DNA. (Fourier analysis is a mathematical technique used to calculate the periodic functions that arise in situations of cylindrical symmetry, such as in fiber crystals of DNA.) Instead, Donohue claimed that the data was compatible with alternative base-pairings as well. Donohue dismissed biochemical evidence for the Watson-Crick model of DNA, for instance evidence for the antiparallel direction of the two strands, as irrelevant to his argument, which he claimed was based on crystallography, not biochemistry.. Crick did not in fact publish the "considered article" he mentioned in Donohue's letter. However, in a retrospective, "The Double Helix: A Personal View," published in the April 26, 1974, issue of Nature (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 . . ."
Original Repository:
The Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
Location:
Box: 21. Folder: PP/CRI/D/2/11/1
Rights:
Courtesy of the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine.
Disclaimer:
The National Library of Medicine's Profiles in Science program has made every effort to secure proper permissions for posting items on the web site. In this instance, however, it has either not been possible to identify or contact the current copyright owner. If you have information regarding the copyright owner, please contact https://support.nlm.nih.gov.
Genre:
Letters (correspondence)
Subject:
DNA and Crystallography, X-Ray
Format:
Text
Extent:
2 pages
Relation:
Letter from Francis Crick to Jerry Donohue, 1970
The Double Helix: A Personal View, 1974
Language:
English
Legacy Source Citation:
Original Repository. Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers. 11646. URL. http://archives.wellcome.ac.uk/
Legacy ID:
SCBBMX
NLM ID:
101584582X184
Profiles Collection:
The Francis Crick Papers
Story Section:
Embryology and the Organization of DNA in Higher Organisms, 1966-1976