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.
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.
Teichler Zallen D. Genetics and SocietyGenetics and Society. JAMA. 2003;289(24):3309. doi:10.1001/jama.289.24.3309-a