In his letter Donohue recited his contention that Fourier analysis of recent X-ray diffraction data did not conclusively prove the validity of Watson's and Crick's model of base-pairing in DNA. (Fourier analysis is a mathematical technique used to calculate the periodic functions that arise in situations of cylindrical symmetry, such as in fiber crystals of DNA.) Instead, Donohue claimed that the data was compatible with alternative base-pairings as well. Donohue dismissed biochemical evidence for the Watson-Crick model of DNA, for instance evidence for the antiparallel direction of the two strands, as irrelevant to his argument, which he claimed was based on crystallography, not biochemistry.. Crick did not in fact publish the "considered article" he mentioned in Donohue's letter. However, in a retrospective, "The Double Helix: A Personal View," published in the April 26, 1974, issue of Nature (vol. 248, p.768), Crick summarized that Donohue, "whose advice was crucial to our understanding of base pairing, was a persistent critic of the validity of the later X-ray work, but in recent years he had carried it too far . . ."
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