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The DNA of cancer

Nobel laureate James Watson tells Bronwen Maddox that science is close to understanding how cancer grows—and might be cured

By Bronwen Maddox   April 2011

“I feel about cancer as I did about DNA in 1952,” said James Watson. “That is, that we have a realistic chance of big success, but we really have to keep at it.” Asked what people should expect of genetic research in the next ten years, he said firmly: “A cure for cancer.”

Watson, together with Francis Crick, discovered nearly 60 years ago that the structure of DNA, the molecule that carries genetic information from one generation to the next, took the form of a double helix. Their publication of that conclusion in April 1953 won them, together with Maurice…

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