Lot 103
  • 103

Watson, James Dewey and Francis Harry Compton Crick

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Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids.  A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid.  Great Britain: Fisher, Knight 7 Co., 1953 (Reprinted from Nature, Vol. 171, p. 737, April 25, 1953)

In 8s (8 1/2  x 5 1/2  in.).  Signed by both Watson and Crick on the title-page, very lightly browned. 

Catalogue Note

The fathers of DNA: James Dewey Watson and Francis Harry Compton Crick.  This article, Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids, describes the "structure for the salt deoxyribose nucleic acid (D.N.A.) ... We wish to put forward a radically different structure ... This structure has two helical chains each coiled round the same axis ... an angle of 36 [degrees] between adjacent residues in the same chain, so that the structure repeats after 10 residues ... The structure is an open one, and its water content is rather high ... The novel feature of the structure is the manner in which the two chains are held together by the purine and pyrimidine bases.  The planes of the bases are perpendicular to the fibre axis.  They are joined together in pairs, a single base from one chain being hydrogen-bonded to a single base from the other chain, so that the two lie side by side with identical z-co-ordinates ..."  Offprints signed by both Watson and Crick , who became unfriendly rivals, are very uncommon.

Crick, an Englishman, and Watson, an American, met at Cambridge University in 1951 and together made discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nuclear acids and its significance for information transfer in living material.  In 1962, they were awarded the Nobel Laureate for Medicine. Crick died in August 2004.