Photos: Milestones in genetics

Updated 5:21 PM ET, Fri June 28, 2013
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James Watson, who won a Nobel Prize for co-discovering the structure of DNA, holds a model of the molecule. "It hasn't made the world perfect, but it's a very powerful tool for trying to make it more perfect," Watson says. Click through to learn more about the history of genetics. Evelio Contreras/CNN
Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk and botanist, studied garden peas and came to understand the concepts of dominant and recessive genes. These studies in the 1860s helped establish the knowledge base for modern genetics. This is an illustration of what Mendel found. Kean Collection/Getty Images
George Wells Beadle, an American geneticist, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with E.L. Tatum in 1958. The scientists established that "genes act by regulating definite chemical events," according to the Nobel Prize website. Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Francis Crick, left, and James Watson, right, discovered the double helix structure of DNA in 1953. They were awarded a Nobel Prize for the work in 1962, along with Maurice Wilkins. Express/Central Press/Getty Images
Physicist Walter Gilbert, shown in 1980, shared a Nobel Prize with Frederick Sanger, Alan Coulson and Alan Maxam for developing techniques to sequence DNA. Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Watson was the first director of the Human Genome Project, which ended in 2003. The effort drew a complete map of the human genome. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
In 2012, researchers announced an effort called Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE). Whereas the Human Genome Project determined the order of letters in the genome, ENCODE looks at the interpretation of that, examining which genetic variants affect biochemical function, and which ones are associated with disease. Photo Illustration/Thinkstock