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Books, Journals, New Media
June 25, 2003

Genetics and SocietyGenetics and Society

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(24):3309. doi:10.1001/jama.289.24.3309-a

This year, there will be many events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the publication in Nature of a now-classic paper by James Watson and Francis Crick. In that paper, Watson and Crick proposed that DNA, the genetic material, exists in the form of a two-stranded helix with the strands held together by complementary base pairing, of adenine to thymine and guanine to cytosine. The response to the structure they proposed was extraordinary. The research it triggered opened the door to explaining DNA replication, led the way to understanding gene architecture and function at the molecular level, and culminated in the mapping and sequencing of the genetic material of a variety of organisms, including humans. The insights gained have fueled a biological revolution that has already yielded valuable applications in medicine in the form of testing for genes associated with disorders and new gene-based therapies to defeat disease. There are a host of new genetic interventions in the pipeline, and many more are being explored. There is much to celebrate.

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