Nature comes clean on DNA

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As many of you probably know, controversy has surrounded James Watson’s and Francis Crick’s 1953 seminal paper on DNA structure since its publication. Most of the sometimes heated discussions have focused on the attribution of authorship, centering on the source of the data and on the identity of the person who actually originated the DNA double-helix model.

In an unprecedented move, just days before the 55th anniversary of the paper’s publication, Nature magazine has decided to correct this crucial historical mistake, and finally grant co-authorship to the person who, for years, has been rumored to be the real discoverer of the structure of DNA. Nature has now re-issued a corrected version of the paper, copies of which you can find below the fold.

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Even when I was nought but a wee gamete, I was an intrusive little bastard. Mark Mathis is going to get quite a shock next time the full moon rises, too.... Read More

PZ in Chapel Hill from A Blog Around The Clock on April 1, 2008 8:07 AM

Well, well, well, I went to my office this morning and, just as I got my coffee, opened up the laptop and logged in, who walks in? PZ Myers! What a surprise. So, we chatted some. He thought that PLoS... Read More

30 Comments

Is it too late to nominate PZ for the Nobel Prize ?

It must grate on PZ to have to acknowledge a Wilkins.

Btw, who aided PZ financially in those early days of various acids? The Dick to The Dawk to The DSc?

What’s even more impressive, is that PZ did this work as a pair of pre-meiotic germ line cells. He hadn’t even become a pharyngula yet!

Jonathan, you nominate PZ, I’ll second him, and we’ll split the prizemoney. If there’s any left after the stuff that passes under the table.

I’m told by the history commentators, some of whom might be partly believable, that Crick went on to become a leading exponent of panspermia. Panspermia, one suspects, can be the allowable way, in modern scientific circles, of saying, “Hey, I don’t think common descent, natural selection, survival of the fittest, and all that, quite explains everything”.

But then, he had just been one of the first to begin to catch a glimpse of what life and species really are (Darwin & co. were operating mostly in the dark).

Even then, in the mid-20th Century, perhaps he intuitively suspected he was looking at an extremely sophisticated information system component - space age stuff. (Incidentally, Lord Kelvin and Sir Richard Owen, back in the Darwinian days of dimness, both arguably groped in that direction.) Transmission of information, pre-programming implications, species transformation via re-programming .….: Crick earned his Nobel Prize. He did not proceed under the all too familiar motto of herd-mentality - “In grooves we are stuck”.

Er, does OM mean Order of Merit? Old Man? Gee I’m intrigued.

Yesterday was 31st March, last day of March. Hmm.

Philip Bruce Heywood:

Yesterday was 31st March, last day of March. Hmm.

Yes, indeedy. That would make today the 1st April.

I must confess, to start with I thought this was about Rosalind Franklin. Then I saw PZ’s name on the paper.

Sadly, the story of Rosalind Franklin isn’t the least bit funny.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosalind_Franklin

So, has the scientific theory of intelligent design been posted or published anywhere. Today would be the appropriate day to do it.

Now if they would only credit GN Ramachandran as well, who even in this age has to share his work on collagen with a few other squatters.

Ron Okimoto Wrote:

So, has the scientific theory of intelligent design been posted or published anywhere. Today would be the appropriate day to do it.

ID and creationism in fact. Check your in-box, I sent you an advance copy of Ray’s paper. ;-)

Is there any truth to the rumor that PZ stole his ideas from Dr. Loo Flirpa?

Academic freedom time:

Question: In 1960 I was twice as old as PZ, but in 1953 his age was 4 times mine. How old are we now?

Johnny gets credit for saying “That’s impossible. If he was older than you in 1953, he was still older than you in 1960.”

Frank J…

In 1953, -1 and -4 In 1960, 3 and 6

I.e. You were born in 1954, PZ 3 years later. Thus, about 54 and about 51 (depending on when your birthday is, because it is possible to have been born in 1954 and be only 53 until later in the year).

Actually, you are both five days old (as is the earth).

Go-the Designer created the universe to look old, but is constantly tearing it down and rebuilding every Thursday.

You evilutionists cannot suppress the truth of Last-Thursdayism!

I just read that whole “flippin’ “ paper, trying to figure out what the joke was. UGH! (yes, I did finally see it)

Go-the Designer created the universe to look old, but is constantly tearing it down and rebuilding every Thursday.

Somebody just read “The Langoliers”.

Er, does OM mean Order of Merit? Old Man? Gee I’m intrigued.

It’s a web badge of honor, the Order of Molly, which is why I stick to it here rather than any other shtick.

Basically, it’s when you outmonth PZ for a mouth… or something like that.

There are worse papers to read on your way to the punchline.

GSLamb: Cease your heretical schismatic activities forthwith. The world WILL be created ONE Thursday, but it has not been created yet, and speculation as to when it will be is blasphemous presumption!

Alas, Dr. Steve Steve is still left out in the cold. When will his contribution be recognized?

I heard he got the idea from two bamboo stalks that were intwined together.

Shoot, I was hoping it would be Dembski.

After all, wouldn’t design be the best model to use to discover how the information storage of inheritance was designed? No?

Still waiting for the Expelled bunch to yell “April fool.” I’m not sure if they’re bright enough to know that, though.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Nigel has the correct answer (PZ just turned 51; my 54th is a few months away), but added unnecessary detail “designed” to outsmart the teacher, so under “Academic Freedom”, he’s “expelled.” ;-)

GSLamb is also “expelled” because, while ID accommodates all the results of “Last Thursdayism” the correct age of the universe, earth and life on earth is “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Nigel, for curiosity, did you use “2 equations, 2 unknowns” or trial and error aided by the question’s hint?

GSLamb:

Actually, you are both five days old (as is the earth).

Go-the Designer created the universe to look old, but is constantly tearing it down and rebuilding every Thursday.

You evilutionists cannot suppress the truth of Last-Thursdayism!

Last Thursday? It was Tuesday, you heretic!

Glen Davidson Wrote:

Still waiting for the Expelled bunch to yell “April fool.”

Last week I was semi-seriously asking if they might surprise us with a different ending that said “we weren’t serious about the ‘Darwinism’ to Nazism part, it was just a hoax to get a rise out of critics.” I hadn’t even thought of 4/1. Either way I still think it’s a long shot.

Frank J Wrote:

Nigel, for curiosity, did you use “2 equations, 2 unknowns” or trial and error aided by the question’s hint?

Er .. well, sorry to disappoint, but once I got the hint, it all kinda came to me in a flash.

Nigel D Wrote:

Er .. well, sorry to disappoint, but once I got the hint, it all kinda came to me in a flash.

Actually that’s the way you should do it on an SAT. Of course I had to check it algebraically, just for fun.

You do algebra for fun??

(Just kidding. Of course, who doesn’t do algebra for fun?)

Damn, I’m a little behind on my blog reading. But, anyway, I’m with Glen: I was expecting to see Dembski there!

Actually,

There is a serious question about whether Crick and Watson stole their DNA model from a fellow researcher named Rosalind Franklin. At the very least they used her data without telling her and without giving her any credit.

PBS Nova had a good show on it:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/photo51

Watson and Crick are scumbags.

Nigel D (#149363): I must confess, to start with I thought this was about Rosalind Franklin. Then I saw PZ’s name on the paper.

Tom Marking:

Actually,

There is a serious question about whether Crick and Watson stole their DNA model from a fellow researcher named Rosalind Franklin. At the very least they used her data without telling her and without giving her any credit.

PBS Nova had a good show on it:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/photo51

Watson and Crick are scumbags.

Way ahead of you there, Tom. Would that show be the one entitled “The Secret of Life” that starred Jeff Goldblum?

In fact, what Watson and Crick took from Rosalind Franklin was the X-ray diffraction data. The pattern suggested a helix. RF was very methodical and started to calculate the electron density map using the well-established principles of X-ray diffraction. On the other hand, Watson and Crick just tried different models until they came up with one that was (a) helical and (b) fitted in with the known ability of various chemical groups to form hydrogen bonds.

In the TV show that I saw some years ago, their first attempt was not right, because they had misunderstood the amount of water in the crystal. Once they got that right, they then ended up at the structure that is now so familiar to us.

As I understand it, RF did validate their model once she completed the calculations, and there was controversy over the award of the Nobel prize, because it made no mention of RF’s contribution. The Nature paper acknowledged RF in a footnote, but, by the modern criteria of authorship, RF should have been first author, because she did all of the experimental work, while all Watson and Crick did was fool around with molecular models.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Andrea Bottaro published on April 1, 2008 5:30 AM.

Logical Negativism was the previous entry in this blog.

Summary Judgment in California Creationist Lawsuit: Bottom Line, and What’s Next (in 3 parts) is the next entry in this blog.

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