Crick and Watson may well be the names that trip off the tongue when most people are asked to identify pioneering geneticists. But behind these two scientific giants is a crowd of equally brilliant researchers whose major contributions to the field have transformed our relationship with nature.
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Pioneers of Genetics is a handy guide to some of the biggest and most important names in the history of genetics. Their imaginations, perseverance, creativity and insights forever changed our views of ourselves and the natural world, and have given us the potential to rid the planet of some pretty nasty diseases.
So strap yourself in to read about some the key players and their discoveries.
Austrian monk sows the seeds of modern genetics by demonstrating that the inheritance of particular pea plant traits follows set patterns. His genius was to recognise that there are dominant and recessive 'particles of inheritance' in the plants, which we now refer to as dominant and recessive genes.
The three scientists most commonly associated with elucidating the structure of DNA are Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins. But there was one other - Rosalind Franklin. Her research data played an important part in allowing Crick and Watson to complete their findings.
A number of scientists tried and failed to work out the structure of DNA. Linus Pauling was one of them, a fact that surprises many who study his career. He went looking in the wrong place, but this brilliant chemist did elucidate the structure of proteins.
Outstanding chemist who has won two Nobel Prizes in Chemistry. He worked out the complete amino acid sequence of insulin and devised techniques to sequence DNA, believing that sequencing is a key to understanding living matter.
Gene splicing is the process where pieces of DNA are cut up and then spliced together to form recombinant DNA. Berg first used the technique in 1972 to create the first recombinant DNA molecules which paved the way for the development of genetic engineering.
Until George Palade came along the subcellular organelles were known as microsomes, but he made a number of key discoveries about them that led to their renaming, and his Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.
A German embryologist who discovered how groups of embryonic cells are able to develop into specific tissues and organs. He also carried the first somatic nuclear transfer, the technique used to clone animals.
To some he is the Devil incarnate who wants to own all our biological material. To others he is a gifted scientist whose work is accelerating research into tackling diseases and may even reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. So just who is Craig Venter?
Within thirty minutes of his 'eureka moment' Sir Alec Jeffreys realised the full potential of a technology that is now used all over the world in forensic science, and to resolve paternity and immigration disputes.
His name may not be one that you immediately think of when asked to recall the giants of genetics, but the Russian-American biochemist made major contributions to the field including the discovery that the cell nucleus contains both DNA and RNA.