June 17, 2008

DNA Research Pioneer Gunther Stent Dies

Pioneering U.S. molecular biologist Gunther Stent, whose research validated the 1953 discovery of the structure of DNA, has died.

The New York Times reported Stent died Thursday near his Haverford, Pa., at the age of 84.

James D. Watson, who along with Francis H. C. Crick discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, said Stent wrote the textbook that became the most exciting tool for the study of molecular genetics following the finding of the double helix.

The book, Molecular Biology of Bacterial Viruses, was published in 1963. An updated edition, Molecular Genetics: An Introductory Narrative, sold more than 25,000 copies in five languages, the newspaper said.

Stent was chairman of the department of molecular biology at the University of California-Berkeley from 1980 to 1986.