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are all aware of DNA and the kind of significance it holds in our lives – like, literally. Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA for short, is the molecule that carries the instructions for building and maintaining living organisms. Often termed the “code of life”, DNA consists of a genetic makeup that makes each one of us unique. But, as we see an emergence in DNA testing companies around us, have you ever stopped to think about how it came to be and the history behind its discovery?

We will break down all the details about the history of DNA and the scientists who unraveled this mysterious molecule.

Early Pioneers: Friedrich Miescher

Not many people know this but the knowledge about DNA came into being in 1860. Thanks to the famous Swiss biochemist named Friedrich Miescher, he was the one that isolated DNA, or the “new substance” as they called from the nuclei of the cells.

During that period, Miescher named the substance “nuclein.” While the significance of this discovery wasn’t appreciated back then, it was Miescher who we have to thank for the first discovery.

Who discovered the molecular structure of the DNA?

If you have studied cells, DNA, and the structure during your school days, you likely know that DNA is a double helix structure.

But, who was the one that discovered that?

According to reports, it was British scientist, Rosalind Franklin who used X-ray crystallography to study the structure of the DNA and later found the structure of the molecule.

Not just Franklin, another scientist, Maurice Wilkins is equally responsible for determining the molecular structure of the DNA, which has helped researchers and scientists in the present date progress in the study of genetic coding.

What breakthrough did Watson and Crick bring?

In 1962, James Watson, Maurice Wilkins, and Francis Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on the structure of DNA.

But, the achievement wasn’t an easy road. It took them years to unlock the structure of the DNA and successfully build the DNA molecule as a double helix. It was their consistent work and research that ascertained the fact that DNA was a double helix structure.

The consistent and groundbreaking research by Watson and Crick confirmed the fact that DNA consisted of two long chains of nucleotides twisted together like a spiral staircase. Also, they found that each strand consists of nucleotide bases that remain in pairs.

What is DNA’s role in heredity?

We often talk about DNA heredity and genetic predisposition. The understanding of this concept has revolutionized the field of genetics.

With consistent hard work and research, scientists started to unravel the true functionalities of the genes and the way they are “passed down from one generation to the next.”

Since DNA consists of the instructions that make proteins that are integral to our body’s natural structure and functioning, prominent mutations in the DNA can often lead to a variety of genetic disorders and variations in the traits.

Ever since the discovery of DNA until now, advancements in DNA research have led to the development of varying technologies like genetic engineering and DNA sequencing and it seems like things are only going to grow from here.


If you were curious about the history of DNA and the extent of research and hard work the scientists, put in back in the day, we hope this gives you a slight glimpse into the process. To this day, DNA continues to the forefront of scientific exploration, especially when it comes to genetics, well-being, and physical health of people.

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