Dynamic DNA Labs: How DNA Was Discovered - Part 1
Dynamic DNA Labs is a state-of-the-art genetics lab that offers a range of DNA testing services, including DNA fitness testing, ethnicity testing, and testing for personalized medicine. The services that Dynamic DNA Labs and other DNA testing clinics provide would not be possible without the amazing discoveries in the field of genetic research.
But how did this all start? And when? Although many people associate the discovery of DNA with Watson and Crick, the amazing history of genetic research actually starts much earlier. To give you a better understanding of the research behind DNA testing, we’ve created a (somewhat abridged) look at the history and development of genetic research, from the discovery of DNA to where it is today.
Genetic Research Before 1950
The field of genetic research begins in 1865 with an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel. While experimenting with pea plants in his garden, Mendel discovered that physical traits are passed between generation in discrete units. These discrete units were later called “genes.” It was determined that genes were strung together on chromosomes, but scientists could not determine how genetic information got from the old chromosome to the new one.
Enter Friedrich Miescher. In 1871, this Swiss scientist was attempting to isolate and characterize proteins found in white blood cells when he stumbled across a substance with unusual chemical properties. This substance was DNA, and although Miescher knew it must be important, it took a long time for the scientific community to understand the significance of his discovery.
Then, in 1944, an immunochemist named Oswald Avery made a scientific breakthrough. While researching the bacterium associated with pneumonia, Avery became determined to discover the “transforming principle” that made relatively harmless bacteria deadly. He soon discovered that the transforming principle was, in fact, DNA.
1950 and the Biggest Discoveries
In the 1950s, Rosalind Franklin conducted a large amount of research that led to our understanding of the structure of DNA. In 1951, she was able to produce two sets of high-resolution photos of DNA fibers. Using the photos, she was able to calculate the dimensions of DNA and deduce that it had a helix structure.
Although Franklin came close to discovering DNA’s structure, she was ultimately beaten out by James Watson and Francis Crick. Using X-ray data and model building, they were able to discover DNA’s “double-helix” structure. In 1962, they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Although Franklin’s x-ray photographs were crucial to Watson and Crick’s research, she was not honored.
Become a Part of the Story with Dynamic DNA Labs
This is just the beginning of how DNA research and testing has led us. Dynamic DNA Labs will return to this topic again to continue the story of the science of what makes us. In the meantime, you can find out more about the range of DNA analysis services that we offer, or contact our medical DNA testing team. To contact Dynamic DNA Labs, give us a call today at (417) 319-1047!