Determining the structure of the biomolecule deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was arguably the most important chemical discovery of the 20th century. This structure implied how genetic material is passed along from generation to generation, and from cell to cell in a living being. Soon scientists were studying how these replications happen in finest detail, making possible a new understanding of heredity and of hereditary disease. In turn, these discoveries led to a new biotechnology beyond antibiotics.

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The Center for Oral History captures and preserves the stories of notable figures in chemistry and related fields, with over 425 oral histories that deal with various aspects of science, of scientists, and of scientific practices. For more information please visit CHF’s Oral History Program or e-mail oralhistory@

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