One Hundred Years After the Latimer and Rodebush Paper, Hydrogen Bonding Remains an Elephant!

E. Arunan


Latimer and Rodebush (J Am Chem Soc 42: 1419–1433,
1920) discussed the ways a Lewis dot structure could be drawn for liquid
water and proposed that the H held between two octets constitutes a
bond in 1920. When it was realized that the other molecule of life, DNA,
owes its double helix structure to specific hydrogen bonds between A–T
(two) and C–G (three) base pairs, the interest in hydrogen bonding grew
dramatically. While hydrogen bonding could be readily seen in water and
DNA, it was not so easy to understand leading to continuous debates
about what it means. This article gives a personal perspective of the
evolution of hydrogen bonding since the Latimer and Rodebush paper
to the recent IUPAC definition of hydrogen bond, published in 2011 and
now. Is there a third C–H···O hydrogen bond in the A–T base pair?

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