The Secret to Life: DNA Quilt Block

The Secret to Life: DNA Quilt Block

History of DNA

In 1953, a physical chemist and X-ray crystallographer discovered the secret to life: DNA.

Photograph of Rosalind Franklin

© Ann Ronan Picture Library—World History Archive/age fotostock

Rosalind Franklin was a physical chemist who had previously studied the physical structure of coal. After completing her postdoctoral training in Paris, and gaining additional expertise in X-ray crystallography, she accepted a position at King's College in London, England, where she would then photograph DNA and prove that DNA was what contained the genetic code for life. Before her valiant efforts, it was widely thought that proteins contained the genetic code, but her research proved that the secret code to life was found in DNA.

Photo 51

Photo: King’s College London Archives

Unfortunately, in 1958 Franklin died at the age of 37 from ovarian cancer, which was 4 years before the Nobel prize was awarded for the discovery of DNA. In 1962, Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded this prestigious award for their combined efforts in researching DNA.

Nobel Prize 1962

What is DNA?

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is made up of two strands, which are connected by nucleic acids: guanine connects with cytosine and adenine connects with thymine. These nucleic acids are connected by a hydrogen bond, which is the perfect connector.The hydrogen bond is actually a pretty weak bond, but that weak bond is necessary. It is strong enough to keep the nucleic acids bonded together, but it is just weak enough to break when the two strands need to be separated for DNA replication.

DNA Quilt Block

Just like the tiny pieces that make up DNA, the DNA quilt block also has a lot of small pieces. I know, I know, that can seem super intimidating. However, you will find full color instructions and basic quilt blocks like half square triangles, strip piecing, and split quarter square triangles in the pattern.

The pattern contains two different ways of making half square triangles (HSTs): the modernly traditional method of creating 2 HSTs at a time and a time and fabric saving way of creating 4 HSTs at a time.

This quilt block was designed to honor Rosalind Franklin and her major discovery, and to celebrate the very thing that connects us all: DNA. Finishing at 12" square, the DNA quilt block incorporates the two DNA strands wrapped around each other, and the hydrogen bonds that connect the two strands.

#QUILTBLOCKMANIA free quilt 12" block

The DNA block is a FREE quilt block when you sign up to receive our emails with the link below. Don't miss out on this free block along with many others (hello, Quilt Block Mania!) that explore what it means to be connected, just like the hydrogen bonds are the source of connection for the DNA. Click on the link below to sign up to receive your very own pattern for a 12" finished DNA block straight to your inbox. Also, don't forget to check out all of these other awesome quilt blocks. And, yes, they are all FREE as well.


We also want to highlight the other quilt blocks designed by the talented quilt pattern designers who are also exploring the theme of "Connection" this month. Click on the link and sign up to receive their pattern.


Heart and Star
Woven Heart by Inquiring Quilter
Puzzle Block by Inflorescnece
Connected Hearts by BoBerry Design Co.
Mardi Gras Geese
Chain Link by Sugar Sand Quilt Co.
Linked by QuiltFabrication
Irish Chain
DNA by Palm Creations
Hello at Patti's Patchwork
Lover's Knot at Lovingly, Lissa
Double Hearts by Appliques Quilts and More
Key to my Heart
Connections by Penny Spool Quilts
WiFi Signal by Crafty Staci
With Love By Sew Cute And Quirky
Text Me!
Braided Love by Kaye Collins
Celtic Tree of Life By Sallys' Sewing Circle
Hearts Together Block by Sew Worthy Mama
Sunshine Village Church by Sarah Marcina
Braille Block
Left and Right Block at The (not so) Dramatic Life
Love Encircled by Jessica of Blue Sky Modern Craft
Celtic Hearts by A Piece of Quiet Quilts
Half Friendship Star with Heart by Blue Bear Quilts

We can't wait to see the quilt blocks you create. Don't forget to tag us on social media! Find us on Instagram at @palm__creations and on Facebook as The Palm Creations.

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