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From DNA Structure to Stem Cells - 50 years of Controversial Research - Transcript


10:00:00           Shot of Photo 51 Showing Type B DNA
                          Original Models of DNA Structure
                          Still photo of Dr Rosalind Franklin circa 1953
                          Still photo of Prof. Maurice Wilkins circa 1953 and tilt down

Guide Voice: Is this the most important scientific photo ever taken? The X-ray diffraction photograph which led to the discovery of the structure of DNA, in 1953, is one of the most significant scientific discoveries in the story of humanity, a discovery that scientists Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins of King's College London and their teams played a key part in.

00:27                Detail from 50th Event Poster
                          Exterior King's College London
                          Interior Main Foyer and DNA Carpet, tilt up
                          Various shots, display cabinets

Guide Voice: This year has seen a worldwide focus on the events leading to the discovery of DNA and, in a rare public appearance, the surviving members of King's College original DNA research team were telling the story of the discovery in their own words at a special event held at the College to mark the 50th anniversary of this immensely significant discovery.

01:00                Interior, Great Hall, King's College
                          Wide, Prof. Raymond Gosling & Prof Herbert Wilson
                          Close as above
                          Tableau, original equipment
                          c.u. Nature publication
                          Detail of names in Nature publication

Guide Voice: Professor Raymond Gosling and Professor Herbert Wilson, both PhD students at King's in the early 1950s worked with Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins, their names appearing on the Nature papers describing the structure of DNA, published alongside that of Crick and Watson, the names most commonly associated with the discovery, in April 1953.

01:24                cu early camera
                          cu original DNA jars
                          Photo 51
                          Interior Great Hall, tilt down from screen
                          Cutaway, James Watson in audience
                          Cutaway, Maurice Wilkes in audience
                          General audience cutaway

Guide Voice: It was the King's College research which led to the now famous Photo 51, the image that gave away the double helix structure, producing biomolecular science, and much of the understanding of the world we take for granted today.

01:45                cu Commemorative T-Shirt and tilt up
                          GV Pan of Foyer to Great Hall, King's College
                          Exterior, Stem Cell Research Building
                          GVs Dr Stephen Minger and staff at work

Guide Voice: As the world notes the 50th anniversary of that publication a lot is being made of the history of DNA research - but at King's the focus is very much on the future. Without the discovery of the structure of DNA, stem-cell research would not be possible and the UK Government has vowed that Great Britain will become a leader in the field.

02:08                cu Stem Cells - 1 year old Muscle Stem Cells still growing.

Guide Voice: Stem Cell research, based on an understanding of the structure of DNA and the subsequent mechanisms of gene transcription, is the natural progression of the earlier work done at Kings College and holds out significant promise for the future.

02:23 SOT: Dr Stephen Minger, Lecturer in The Centre For Neuroscience Research at King's College, London and Head of the Stem Cell Research Laboratory - "Well I think everything that we know about stem cells - their specialised properties, the genes that control stem cell proliferation and self renewal and differentiation, ultimately depends on our understanding of DNA. I don't think anybody, fifty years ago, when the structure of DNA was, was first isolated, really understood how fundamentally crucial that, that would be. I mean our ability now to manipulate any stem cell population and to, and to think about using them therapeutically is absolutely crucial in our understanding of which genes these cells express and whether they express them appropriately. So they're intimately linked. You couldn't have stem cell research without DNA".

03:06                 Laboratory GVs
                          c.u. Muscle Stem Cells

Guide Voice: King's College hold one of only two existing UK licences to carry out human stem-cell research and, while this research is still in the very early stages its potential is obvious.

03:19 SOT: Dr Stephen Minger - "The big promise of human embryonic stem cell research is that we can grow up vast quantities of these cells, and if we can then in turn, learn how to push them down these different pathways, such that we can take those cells and turn them into beta cells from the pancreas that make insulin, or dopamine cells for Parkinson's patients, you could begin to transplant very large numbers of patients."

03:39                Set up shots - Prof. Paul Sharpe

Guide Voice: Professor Paul Sharpe is pioneering research into the genetic control of tooth development. His aim, eventually, is to be able to replace missing teeth, and he echo's Dr Minger's view of the potential for Stem Cell research.

03:52 SOT Prof. Paul Sharpe, Head of the Dept. of Craniofacial Biology and Director of Research at the Dental Institute, King's College London - "I think that the future is in these kind of areas, of applying first of genome information to, to medicine and, and dentistry of course as well, the basic, er the kind of identification of disease processes, er multi-factorial diseases in particular. And then the, the utilisation of that information in an en-en.. a tissue engineering biological context to create tissues, to repair tissues, um and to correct disease processes."

04:23                4 Shot, l to r, Professor Raymond Gosling, Prof. Herbert Wilson, Prof. James Watson, Prof.                           Maurice Wilkes.
                          DNA Structure

Guide Voice: It's certain that whatever the future may hold for biological and medical research - it will owe its successes to the teams of scientists who laboured to discover the structure of DNA.

04:40 End

Page contact: Tom Abbott Last revised: Thu 31 Mar 2005
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