The Double Helix Revisited

The man who launched the Human Genome Project celebrates its success

None of us so privileged few who first saw the double helix in the spring of 1953 ever contemplated that we might in our lifetime see it completely decoded. All our dreams at the time centered on the next big objective--finding how the four letters of the DNA alphabet (A, T, G and C) spell out the linear sequences of amino acids in the synthesis of proteins, the main actors in the drama of cellular life. As it turns out, the essence of the genetic code and of the molecular machinery that reads it was solidly established by 1966, only 13...

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