Celebrating DNA’s Unsung Hero
Rosalind Franklin is one of the most prominent examples of female scientists in history who have had their work credited to men. She was a chemist and biologist who discovered the structure of DNA in 1951. One of her colleagues at King’s College in London passed her research to James Watson and Francis Crick, names that might ring a bell in your mind with their double helix theory of DNA. After their studies were published, Franklin’s was assumed to be a confirmation of Watson and Crick’s research, for which they later won a Nobel Prize. After Franklin’s death, Watson authored a book about his discovery and described Franklin as “an antagonistic and overly emotional woman.”
Franklin was joined by many other scientists such as Lise Meitner, Nettie Stevens, Alice Ball, and Mary Anning who all had their impressive contributions dismissed, though their discoveries changed the world with theories about nuclear fission, chromosomes, treatments for leprosy, and evolution.
These ground-breaking scientists do not go unnoticed anymore. Nearly 20 years after her death, Franklin’s work began to receive recognition. Today, on DNA Day, we attribute Rosalind Franklin to the discovery of the structure of DNA, making her “DNA’s Unsung Hero.”
DNA is at the heart of all genomic research, which plays a role in various other scientific disciplines, including cancer research. At Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, operated by Leidos Biomedical Research, scientists with expertise in genetics and genomics work with experts in other fields to develop solutions for some of the world’s toughest public health challenges, like cancer and HIV/AIDS.
These scientists are continuing the tradition of ground-breaking discoveries built on the discoveries of the scientists who came before them.
For more than 25 years Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., has partnered with the National Cancer Institute to operate Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, the only laboratory focused exclusively on biomedical research.
Learn more about the important work at Leidos Biomedical Research