Should Linus Pauling’s erroneous 1953 model of DNA be retracted?

This is a very interesting story. Linus Paulig was one of my youth heroes, along with Watson & Crick. They are all “guilty” of my fascination in molecular biology leading me to decide to study molecular biology instead of medicine. But that is an old story, over 40 years old… Time is flying…

Interesting question comes to mind – what will/should happen to all RF studies where authors misinterpreted experimental data…

Retraction Watch

We love history at Retraction Watch, but with few exceptions, such as covering what seems to have been the first-ever English language retraction in 1756, the daily march of retractions doesn’t leave us much time to take steps back. So we’re very glad to be able to present a guest post by our friend Jeff Perkel about a classic paper that scientists have known to be wrong for most of its nearly 60-year-life — and yet remains in the literature.

The date is December 31, 1952. Linus Pauling, the CalTech wunder-chemist who had recently solved the secondary structure of proteins by describing the alpha-helix and the beta-sheet, has just submitted a “Proposed Structure for the Nucleic Acids” to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The PNAS description appears in February 1953 and runs for 14 pages, with seven figures and two tables (compare…

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