Best Defense

Did World War II codebreaking help humankind discover DNA a decade later?

That’s the suggestion made by James Gleick in "The Information."



That’s the suggestion made by James Gleick in The Information. In his discussion of the discovery of DNA, he quotes a scientist involved who write in 1954 that, “As in the breaking of enemy messages during the war, the success depends on the available length of the coded text. As every intelligence officer will tell you, the work is very hard, and the success depends mostly on luck…. I am afraid the problem cannot be solved without the help of an electronic computer.”

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at Twitter: @tomricks1
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