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50 Years of DNA’s Discovery

February 27th, 2003 · 2 Comments

A NYTimes article on the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA’s double helix by James Watson and Francis Crick.

Research is a slow process, often with years between each eureka, and even today the DNA revolution remains largely behind laboratory doors, in the form of biologists’ ever intensifying understanding of the mechanisms of life. But a few powerful inventions forensic DNA, a new wave of DNA-based drugs have already had considerable effect, and many researchers believe they are just a foretaste.

They expect new medical treatments and diagnostic tests, based on a thorough understanding of DNA, for cancer, heart disease and other long intractable maladies. Yet like any powerful technology, DNA will doubtless bring vexing choices: whether to modify the human genome with inheritable genes that will eliminate disease and enhance desired qualities, for one.

And there are outright dangers, like the possibility that DNA techniques will be used to make novel biological weapons.

Tags: General

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