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Molecular model showing the structure of insulin, England, 1967

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In 1935, Dorothy M Crowfoot Hodgkin (1910-94), a British chemist and crystallographer, published the first X-ray photograph of insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas to break down sugars in the body. But Hodgkin and her team were unable to determine the 3-D structure of insulin until 1969, when this model was made. The larger metal balls in the model represent zinc, which was introduced chemically into the protein to decode the rest.

Object number:

1991-286/1

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    Glossary: molecular model

    a physical model that represents molecules and their processes and structures

    Glossary: insulin

    A hormone that causes the body's cells to take up glucose from the blood. (Diabetes is the loss of control of the body's levels of insulin.)