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scientists respond to the death of Francis Crick

Francis Crick, who together with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the structure of DNA, passed away at a hospital in California.

Dr Roger Pederson, Cambridge University, said:

“The discovery by Watson and Crick of the structure of DNA launched an era of genome research that has matured to our current day: the complete sequencing of the human genome. We are now entering a ‘post genomic’ era that will reap the benefits of these great incites. This will likely take the form of breakthroughs in regenerative medicine through stem cell research and other novel technologies.”

Prof Richard Gardner, Henry Dale Research Professor of the Royal Society University of Oxford, said:

“From my contact with him at Cambridge University, I would rank Francis Crick, in my view, as one of the greatest minds of the 20 th century. He was a theoretician rather than an experimentalist, and was an extremely perceptive person; he would get straight to the heart of a problem while everyone else was struggling around him.”

Dr Matt Ridley, author of ‘Genome’ and ‘Nature Vs Nurture’, said:

“Francis Crick made not one but many great scientific discoveries. He found that genes are digital codes written on DNA molecules, he found that the code is written in three-letter words and he was instrumental in cracking the code. Any one of those would have got him a place in the scientific pantheon. Discovering all three places him alongside Newton, Darwin and Einstein.”

Alistair Kent, Director of the Genetic Interest Group, said:

“We are deeply saddened by the news of the death of Francis Crick. He was one of the founders of modern molecular biology and his contribution enabled patients affected by genetic disease to gain an understanding of their condition and begin to hope for the possibility of a cure. Although much remains to be done, without him we would still labouring in the dark.”

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, Head of Developmental Genetics, National Institute for Medical Research, said:

“Crick had a superb intellect which he brought to bear on a number of very important scientific issues. There was of course his contribution to solving the structure of DNA, which goes down as one of the most influential discoveries of all time. But he also made critical in-roads into a range of topics from understanding how the information encoded in DNA is used to build proteins, to in more recent years, the nature of consciousness. He will be sorely missed.”

Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics, University College London, said:

“Francis Crick was the Charles Darwin of the twentieth century.”

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