AP/Photo released by Thirteen/WNET in New York
July 29, 2004
Nobel Prize-winning scientist Francis Crick, left, who with James Watson, right, discovered the spiral, ``double-helix'' structure of DNA, paving the way for everything from DNA blood tests to genetically engineered tomatoes, died on Wednesday, July 28, 2004, in San Diego. He was 88 and had been battling colon cancer. It was 1953, while working in Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, England, that the British-born Crick, 36 at the time, and the American-born Watson, just 24, struck upon the famous double-helix structure -- like a twisted ladder -- of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. Not until years after the discovery were Crick and Watson's conclusions about the molecular structure of DNA firmly established. At the time, Crick later said, only a small number of people ``even thought it was interesting.'' A half-century later, the biotechnology industry is based largely upon the discovery. So, too, are genetically engineered foods like bigger tomatoes and innovative medical technologies like gene therapy.