Two-meter strands made up of three billion letters in each of our bodies’ cells… Reading the human’s DNA base sequence would take 57 years. Placed in a straight line it would circle the Earth 2.5 million times. The structure of DNA was revealed by two brilliant researchers, Francis Crick and James Watson, and by a photograph (taken by Rosalind Franklin) of a double helix – a snapshot that would fuel a controversy involving the politics of science. Since April 1953 the world has never been the same. Knowledge of the building blocks of life and advances in genetic engineering have enabled us to understand, repair, suppress and improve DNA, thus providing a promising horizon for research and a better quality of life. Reading this “formula” is the best way to eliminate all fear.
Elena Cattaneo, a pharmacologist and a biologist, teaches at the University of Milan and is renowned for her studies on Huntington’s disease and stem cells.
Massimo Delledonne teaches Genetics at the University of Verona. Since 2011 he has been working on the sequencing and interpretation of the human genome in clinical contexts.