Definition of Crick, Francis

Crick, Francis: British biologist (1916-2004) who shared the 1962 Nobel prize in Medicine and Physiology with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins for "discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material."

The discovery of the structure of DNA as a double helix by Watson and Crick (with assists by Wilkins and, especially, by the uncredited Rosalind Franklin) was at the heart of this award. In his Nobel presentation speech, Professor A. Engstrom, stated to Drs. Crick, Watson, and Wilkins: "Your discovery of the molecular structure of the deoxyribonucleic acid, the substance carrying the heredity, is of utmost importance for our understanding of one of the most vital biological processes. Practically all the scientific disciplines in the life sciences have felt the great impact of your discovery. The formulation of double helical structure of the deoxyribonucleic acid with the specific pairing of the organic bases, opens the most spectacular possibilities for the unravelling of the details of the control and transfer of genetic information."

Francis Crick died at age 88 of colon cancer on July 28, 2004 in San Diego, California where had worked for many years at the Salk Institute. In his obituary the New York Times wrote: "So central is DNA to biology that the names of Francis H. C. Crick and James D. Watson, his American colleague in the discovery, may be remembered as long as those of Darwin and Mendel, the architects of the two pillars of modern biology: the theory of evolution and the laws of genetics."


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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