Date Published: May 23, 2004
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Partial Text: When James Watson and Francis Crick reported the structure of DNA in 1953, the mechanism of inheritance was instantly apparent. The complementary pairing of the DNA bases in the double helix, the pair famously wrote, “immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material.” The structure helped explain one of the central problems of modern biology: how does genetic material get faithfully replicated and then passed on from generation to generation? It was long thought that DNA is the only unit of inheritance.