James Watson (1928-)

Franklin is perhaps the most influential, though often overlooked, scientist to contribute to the discovery of genes existing within deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). While Nobel Prize winning physicists James Watson and Francis Crick received the credit for determining the structure of DNA, it was Franklin’s research that made it possible.

A biophysicist and x-ray crystallographer, Franklin’s influence wasn’t limited to the understanding of DNA. Her work also contributed to our understanding of ribonucleic acid (RNA), viruses, coal and graphite.

The images of DNA she managed to extract, through x-ray defraction, led to the discovery of the double helix. Her work on cell metabolism and genetics helped scientists in their understanding of how genetic information passes from generation to generation.

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