Today, April 25th, the world marks the greatest scientific achievement of all time: International DNA Day!
The achievement includes two notable events in DNA research: the publication of Watson and Crick’s paper on deciphering the structure of DNA in Nature, and exactly 50 years later, the announcement of the end of the Human Genome Project.
Deciphering the structure of the DNA molecule was a culminating event in the quest to discover the secrets of life. It is not for nothing that Francis Crick said, “We have discovered the secret of life.” Deciphering the chemical and physical structure of DNA and the birth of the double helix is one of the most important molecular discoveries in molecular biology! The discovery formed the basis for the genetic engineering revolution and the creation of the modern biotechnology industry.
At the Faculty of Biology at the Technion, there is no laboratory that does not implement this important discovery in some way. All the hereditary information needed to build proteins in the cell in all known organisms, from bacteria to humans, is encoded in one or more DNA molecules, organized in a double-helix structure, and the nucleotide sequence in them is unique to each organism.
Image: From Prof. Ariel Kaplan’s lab, which uses laser-based “optical tweezers” to study DNA packaging mechanisms and their role in controlling gene expression