By Jacque Wilson
(CNN) — Happy National DNA Day! April 25 marks the 60th anniversary of scientists’ discovery of the double helix. It’s also the 10th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project, which set out to sequence the more than 3 billion letters in our genetic code.
Biologist James Watson and physicist Francis Crick realized our DNA molecules form a three-dimensional double helix in 1953. But DNA research dates back to the late 1860s, according to Nature Education.
Friedrich Miescher was the first to identify “nucleic acid” in our white blood cells; his 1869 finding was later named deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. Others later defined the components that make up DNA molecules, identified RNA (ribonucleic acid, the other type of nucleic acid found in all cells along with DNA) and determined that although DNA differs in each species, it always maintains certain properties.
Those findings led to…
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