Mark E Curtis

The geometry of DNA: a structural revision

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The origin of Sven Furberg’s 3-Dimensional nucleotide was crucial to the resolution of the Watson and Crick structure.


 “Furberg, reasoning with marked brilliance and luck from data that were meagre but included his own X-ray studies, got right the absolute three-dimensional configuration of the nucleotide: where Astbury had set sugar parallel to base, Furberg, in what he called the the standard configuration, set them at right angles. As a structural element, that standard configuration was a powerful help. “Furberg’s nucleotide - correcting Astbury’s error - was absolutely essential to us,” Crick told me.”


Horace Freeland Judson - The Eighth Day of Creation (p115)


Considering the techniques of those days, Furberg’s solution of this molecule’s 3-dimensional structure based on 2-dimensional Fourier projections was a “very remarkable piece of work. It was in fact such a difficult problem that if he had been asked advice he would have been told that it was not possible to solve it.” (Crick,1973)


Robert Olby - The Path to the Double Helix (p337)