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DNA and the Human Identity

NPR's Joe Palca has the first in a series of stories marking the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the double helix, the three-dimensional chemical structure of DNA. A half-century ago this week, the British science journal, Nature, published a one-page report by James Watson and Francis Crick, which immediately explained how genetic instructions are passed from one generation to the next.

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Joe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR. Since joining NPR in 1992, Palca has covered a range of science topics — everything from biomedical research to astronomy. He is currently focused on the eponymous series, "Joe's Big Idea." Stories in the series explore the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors. Palca is also the founder of NPR Scicommers – A science communication collective.