|Erwin Chargaff was born in Czernowitz, Austria on August 11, 1905. He received his doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1928. He conducted research on bacteria in the U.S. and Europe. He was inspired by Oswald Avery's 1944 paper identifying DNA as the hereditary material to study nucleic acids. By 1950 his research had uncovered a critical clue that Watson and Crick would later use to determine the structure of DNA. Chargaff determined, through chemical analysis that in all DNA, the amounts of adenine and thymine were equal, as were the amounts of cytosine and guanine.|
|In 1952, Chargaff
met with Watson and Crick in Cambridge, England. Watson and Crick
had some ideas about how Chargaff’s work might be represented
in the structure of DNA. Chargaff was not impressed with Watson and
Crick, finding them both rather lacking in their understanding of
chemistry. But it was another year before Watson, playing with cardboard
replicas of the nucleic acids, discovered that when adenine and thymine
were paired, they were the exact same shape as a guanine-cytosine
Chargaff claimed his visit had helped Watson and Crick in their discovery, though Chargaff had not determined the unique properties of the pairs himself.
Chargaff eventually became a critic of biotechnology, claiming ethics were lacking and raising concerns about cloning and genetic manipulations.
Chargaff Papers, American Philosophical Society. Philadephia. Retrieved
March 18, 2005from: http://www.amphilsoc.org/library/mole/c/chargaff.htm#bioghis