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FRANKLIN, Rosalind E., & R. G. Gosling.

Molecular Configuration in Sodium Thymonucleate.

[In:] Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids. Reprinted from Nature, Vol. 171, p. 737, April 25, 1953. Pp. 9-14; [with] WATSON, J. D., & F. H. Crick, "A Structure of Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid"; [and] WILKINS, M. H. F., A. R. Stokes, & H. R. Wilson, "Molecular Structure of Deoxypentose Nucleic Acids".

London: Fisher, Knight & Co., Ltd, 1953 Stock Code: 126905
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"One of the most important discoveries of the twentieth century"

First edition, offprint issue, of crystallographer Rosalind Franklin's groundbreaking research paper contributing to the identification of the double helix structure of DNA, the most revolutionary discovery in the fields of molecular biology and all other life sciences, appearing alongside equally landmark articles by James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins.

At the point of publication, the model that Watson and Crick had devised for the structure of DNA was only a theory. Working independently of the Cambridge-affiliated Watson and Crick, Franklin (1920-1958), assisted by her research student Raymond Gosling in John Randall's laboratory at King's College, London, confirmed their hypothesis, and her and Gosling's second paper for Nature in July 1953 stands as the first analytical demonstration of the correctness of the Watson-Crick model. Franklin died four years before the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Watson, Crick, and Wilkins for their work on DNA, but without question "Franklin's contributions, and indeed her actual X-ray data, were crucial to the total achievement She will be remembered as one of the select few who made crucial contributions to one of the most important discoveries of the twentieth century" (ODNB).

"Two offprints exist of Watson and Crick's paper: a single sheet containing the Watson and Crick article only, and a fourteen-page pamphlet containing the papers of all three research groups. The pamphlet pages are smaller in size than the single leaf, which has the same dimensions as the leaves of the journal, and the layout is different, the single-leaf offprint being printed in two columns like the journal, the pamphlet in single-column pages. The page breaks are different in each of the two offprints and the journal, as is the placement of the illustrations relative to the text. Despite these differences, all three versions appear to have been printed from the same setting of type, except that in the two offprints one paragraph of text has been reset to accommodate the placement of the diagram of the DNA molecule" (Grolier, p. 363). Haskell F. Norman discusses the considerable difficulty in establishing priority between the two offprints in his Introduction to One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine, but closes with the statement "it is now our tentative conclusion that the three-paper offprint is the first issue" (p. xxi).

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Octavo, 13, [1] pp. Printed pamphlet, wire-stitched as issued. Housed in a black quarter morocco slipcase with chemise by the Chelsea Bindery.


4 diagrams, including Gosling's iconic X-Ray "Photograph 51" of crystallised DNA.


A fine copy.


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