This is the first image of the DNA molecule every produced via x-ray crystallography. The image was obtained by Rosalind Franklin, a crystallographer whose work was then used by Watson and Crick to piece together the double-helical structure of DNA. They won the nobel prize while Franklin did not get credit for her work until years after her death. This image was the beginning of modern genetics and molecular biology as we know it.
The information that this image has provided has created entire fields of study that no one would have predicted 70 years ago. Research in cell, developmental, and molecular biology can all be traced back to this image, “Photo 51”. I study developmental biology and how transcriptional enhancers coordinate gene expression during development, and certainly manipulate DNA daily. This image encapsulates a piece of what I love about biology. This image will never change because it is a piece of history. Understanding the gendered power dynamics behind its publication also resonates with me as I too am a woman working in a male-dominated field.
The tattoo is placed on my ribcage, made entirely of dots. Artist is Jared Leathers from Spiral Tattoo in Ann Arbor, MI.