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DNA Pioneer Francis Crick Dies at 88

Francis Crick, the British scientist who helped discover the double helix structure of DNA has died. He was 88 years old and had been battling colon cancer. NPR's Richard Harris offers a remembrance.

Francis Harry Compton Crick was born in Northampton England in 1916. In 1947 he went to Cambridge University to study physics, but later became interested in biology. In 1951 he began working with an American biologist named James Watson, and in 1953, the pair announced they had determined the structure of DNA, the molecule that carries the codes for genes. The discovery revolutionized biology, and won Crick and Watson the Nobel Prize in 1962 along with their colleague Maurice Wilkins.

In 1977, Crick resigned from the faculty at Cambridge, and gave up molecular biology to devote his attention to studying the brain, both in a biological and a philosophical sense. He joined the faculty of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif., where he worked until his death.

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