James Watson’s genius (dedicated to the 90th birth anniversary)

  • H. B. Humeniuk
  • M. Z. Mosula
  • I. B. Chen
  • N. M. Drobyk


The scientific and organizational activities of the worldwide known scientist in the field of molecular biology James Dewey Watson were described in this article. 55 years ago James Watson and Francis Crick made one of the key discoveries of the twentieth century. They have found that DNA has a double helix structure. This discovery was based on the X-rays patterns obtained by Maurice Wilkson and Rosalind Franklin. Subsequently, this DNA model had been proved, and J. Watson and F. Crick were awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. Since, our knowledge of the main molecule of life has been greatly expanded. A significant flowering of molecular genetics has began: synthesis of RNA and DNA in vitro, decoding of genetic code, recombinant DNA technology, genetic engineering, sequencing of genomes and post genomic technologies. James Watson is one of the authors of the cell biology classic textbook “Molecular Biology of the Cell”. In addition, he has developed the current areas of molecular biology such as  molecular oncology and molecular neurobiology. Today genomes of different animals and humans have been decoded and the functions of many genes have been determined. But at present still unknown how the DNA starts and how it affects the work of the organs and the organism as a system.

Keywords: James Watson, DNA structure, Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, Molecular Biology of the Cell.


Watson J.D. Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science. New York: Knopf, 2007. 539 p. URL: http://you-books.com/book/J-Watson/AVOID-BORING-PEOPLE-Lessons-from-a-Life-in-Science (last accessed: 26.02.2018).

Watson J. Double helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA. URL: http://www.chem.msu.ru/rus/books/watson/welcome.html (last accessed: 26.02. 2018).

Watson J.D., Crick F.H.C. Molecular structure of Nucleic Acids: A structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid. Nature. 1953. Vol. 171 (4356). P. 737–738. doi: 10.1038/171737a0

Franklin R.E., Gosling R.G. Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids – Molecular Configuration in Sodium Timonucleate. Nature. 1953. Vol. 171 (4356). P. 740–741. doi: 10.1038/171740a0

Wilkins M.H.F., Stokes A.R., Wilson H.R. «Molecular Structure of Deoxypentose Nucleic Acids». Nature. 1953. Vol. 171. P. 738–740. doi: 10.1038/171738a0

Nobel laureate James Watson: 10 rules of life of a great scientist who has discovered a DNA helix. URL: https://www.crimea.kp.ru/daily/26706/3731846/ (last accessed: 26.02.2018).

Nobel laureate Watson is temporarily suspended from work in the laboratory. URL: https://ria.ru/society/20071020/84702634.html (last accessed: 26.02. 2018).

James Dewey Watson, Francis Creek. Biography. URL: http://biofile.ru/bio/6813.html (last accessed: 26.02. 2018).

Watson J. Molecular biology of the gene / Transl. from english. Moskva: Mir, 1978. 712 p.

Watson J.D. Double helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA. New York: Atheneum, 1968. 234 p.

Berg P., Baltimore D., Boyer H.W., Cohen S.N., Davis R.W., Hognes D.S., Nathans D., Robin R., Watson J.D., Weissman W., Zinder N.D. Potential biohazards of recombinant DNA molecules. Science. 1974. Vol. 185. P. 303. doi: 10.1126/science.185.4148.303

Albert T., Bray D., Lewis J., Reff M., Roberts К., Watson J. Cell Molecular Biology: In 3-v. 2nd ed. T. 1. Moskva: Mir, 1994. 517 p.

Watson J., Tooze J., Кurtz D. Recombinant DNA: Short Course. Moskva: Mir, 1986. 286 p.

Watson J.D. A passion for DNA: Genes, Genomes, and Society. NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, 2000. 250 p.

Watson J.D. DNA: the secret of life. New York: Knopf, 2003. 446 p.

Hunt-Grubbe Ch. The elementary DNA of Dr Watson. The Sunday Times. October 14, 2007.