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2.1.4. Discovery of DNA Double Helix
Like software to a computer, the DNA code is a genetic language that communicates information to the organic cell.The DNA double helix is one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time. First described by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953, DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the famous molecule of genetics that establishes each organism's physical characteristics. It is now understood that each human DNA molecule is comprised of chemical bases arranged in approximately three billions precise sequences. DNA is a double-stranded molecule that is twisted into a helix like a spiral staircase. Each strand is comprised of a sugar-phosphate backbone and numerous base chemicals attached in pairs. The four bases that make up the stairs in the spiraling staircase are adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C) and guanine (G). These stairs act as the "letters" in the genetic alphabet, combining into complex sequences to form the words, sentences and paragraphs that act as instructions to guide the formation and functioning of the host cell. Maybe even more appropriately, the A, T, C and G in the genetic code of the DNA molecule can be compared to the "0" and "1" in the binary code of computer software. Like software to a computer, the DNA code is a genetic language that communicates information to the organic cell.
The unifying principle of common descent that emerges from all the foregoing lines of evidence is being reinforced by the discoveries of modern biochemistry and molecular biology. The code used to translate nucleotide sequences into amino acid sequences is essentially the same in all organisms. Moreover, proteins in all organisms are invariably composed of the same set of 20 amino acids. This unity of composition and function is a powerful argument in favor of the common descent of the most diverse organisms.