The most significant development in molecular biology after the war was, indubitably, the epochal discovery of Watson and Crick. They would complete their analysis of DNA, for which they, along with Maurice Wilkins, would receive the 1962 Nobel prize.
The road to DNA was not easy. Nor was its ensuing field, molecular biology, without controversy. Scientists such as the American geneticist T. H. Morgan, the Italian biologist Salvador Luria, the Canadian physician Ostwald Avery of the Rockefeller Institute and others had done much of the early spadework. By the 1930s Russian- American chemist Phoebus Levene of the Rockefeller Institute and his colleagues had identified the sugar ribose in nucleic acids, of which both RNA and DNA are illustrations. In the 1920s Levene had found that there were two forms of the sugar, ribose and deoxyribose. Hence there were two sorts of nucleic acids, RNA and DNA. Avery and his team then proved in 1944 that genes were the bearers of genetic information -- not proteins as many had previously believed. Avery subsequently researched pneumococcus bacteria and pneumonia.