Making DNA “DNA”

On Jan. 2 at 10 pm, PBS American Masters is airing “Decoding Watson,” a film that casts a gimlet eye on James D. Watson and includes commentary from Yours Truly. Here’s a little piece I wrote for their website.

In it, I argue that the notion that no one has done more than Watson to make DNA “DNA” — to weave the molecule into our understanding of life and, further, to turn DNA into a cultural emblem that stands for the “secret of life.” The title (“Greatest Story Ever Told”), of course, is a reference to both the Max von Sydow-Clint Eastwood epic and the left-handed monkey wrench.

You can’t close the door when the walls cave in.


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