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The Gene Father

Oswald Avery and his colleagues discovered that genes take the form of DNA about 70 years ago, but as the University of Manchester's Matthew Cobb writes in a blog post at the Guardian, not everyone was immediately convinced. DNA was thought to be "boring" and proteins were favored as the candidate for genes.

Eventually, data accumulated to further convince others that Avery was correct. Still, Avery did not receive the accolades Cobb says he deserved. "Avery himself remained in relative obscurity until his death in 1955: scandalously, he never won a Nobel prize, and his work was not cited by Watson and Crick, Franklin or Wilkins," he writes. "None of the three 1953 papers on the structure of DNA bothered to refer to the man who had made it all possible."