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James Dewey Watson (Chicago, April 6, 1928) is an American biologist, famous for having discovered (mainly in collaboration with British biophysicist Francis Crick and thanks to Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins) the structure of the DNA molecule, which earned him the recognition of the scientific community through the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
In 1947 Watson joined the Graduate School of Indiana University, where Hermann Muller, winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, worked for his work on X-ray induced mutations. In May 1950, at 22 years old , Watson completed his doctorate in zoology. He joined Harvard University in 1955. He worked with the British biophysicist Francis Crick in the Cavendish laboratories of the University of Cambridge, from 1951 to 1953. Based on the work done in the laboratory by Crick himself and the British biophysicist Maurice Wilkins, and from the crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, James Watson and Francis Crick unraveled the double helix structure of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule. These investigations provided the means to understand how the hereditary information of the human being is copied and transmitted from one generation to another. Later Arthur Kornberg provided experimental evidence of the accuracy of his model. In recognition of his work on the DNA molecule, Watson, Crick and Wilkins received the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. In 1968 Watson was appointed director of the Quantitative Biology Laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor, New York. He wrote the book The Double Helix (The Double Helix, 1968), a story about the discovery of the structure of DNA. Participated in the Human Genome project of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
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