Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is the basis of all life on earth. It contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of every living organism. In essence, it acts like a set of blueprints containing all the information needed to construct other components of cells such as proteins and RNA molecules. This remarkable molecule has been the focus of some of the most groundbreaking scientific discoveries and advancements in modern history.
In 1953, two young scientists from Britain, James Watson and Francis Crick, together with chemist Linus Pauling from California made a monumental discovery: they discovered the double helix structure of DNA. This breakthrough was dubbed by many as “the single biggest discovery of all time” and revolutionized our understanding of biology.
The development didn’t stop there. Just twenty years later in 1973, scientists Herb Boyer and Stan Cohen took genetic engineering to a whole new level with their experiment involving transferring DNA from one species to another – which triggered both controversy about potential dangers as well as a multi-billion dollar industry.
The 1990s saw an even greater race: to catalogue all the genes in the human genome. The Human Genome Project was launched with a mission to decipher the complete instruction manual for humans – this endeavor ultimately took over a decade and cost millions but has yielded incredible results. One such example is Bud Romine who was diagnosed with incurable cancer in 1994 but was saved due to Gleevec, a drug developed through decoding genetic data that he began taking months away from death in 1997.
Although genetic science has changed our lives for the better, it could potentially open Pandora’s Box when it comes to altering humans beyond natural means – something that Nobel Laureate Jim Watson believes should be done but is extremely controversial nonetheless.
To understand more about these amazing discoveries throughout history that have led us to where we are today – as well as their implications for our future – watch “The Secret Of Life”, an eye-opening documentary detailing how DNA has forever changed our world.