Linus Pauling and the Race for DNA: A Documentary History All Documents and Media  
Home | Search | Narrative | Linus Pauling Day-By-Day


Letter from Linus Pauling to Francis Crick. February 18, 1963.
Pauling writes to seek clarification concerning Crick's thoughts on the number of hydrogen bonds formed between guanine and cytosine within the DNA molecule - thoughts which seem to clash with a structure already published by Pauling and Corey. [Pauling sent a copy of this letter to James Watson as well]


16 February 1963

Dr. F.H. Crick

Unit for Molecular Biology

Cavendish Laboratory

Cambridge, ENGLAND

Dear Crick:

I am writing about the matter of the three hydrogen bonds between guanine and cytosine. A man giving a seminar on the nucleic acids here a few days ago used the structures with two hydrogen bonds, and said that he supposed that you were still supporting it, as shown, for example, by your article in the Scientific American, which was published after the publication of the paper by Professor Corey and me, in which we pointed out that guanine and cytosine form three hydrogen bonds with one another. He asked me if it did not seem, from your publications, that you and Watson had doubt about the third hydrogen bond.

I trust that you are going to introduce the third hydrogen bond in your published Nobel lecture. I am writing just to be sure that, through oversight, you do not continue to refer to guanine and cytosine as forming two hydrogen bonds with one another.

Cordially yours,

Linus Pauling:lh

cc: Professor J.D. Watson

Professor R.B. Corey

Return to Document Page

Home | Search | Narrative | Linus Pauling Day-By-Day