Record sale for 'DNA letter'

2013-04-11 14:52
Francis Crick.  (Picture: AFP)

Francis Crick. (Picture: AFP)

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New York - A letter the British scientist who co-discovered the structure of DNA wrote to his son announcing the news sold on Wednesday for a record sum of just over $6m, Christie's said.

Elizabeth Van Bergen, a spokesperson for the auction house in New York, said the sale "did make the new world auction record for a letter and was sold for $6 059 750".

Without Christie's added premium, the sale price was $5.3m, well beyond the initial $1m - $2m estimate.

The seven-page letter from Francis Crick about discovering the double-helix structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is dated 19 March 1953, and is addressed to his 12-year-old son Michael, who was at a British boarding school at the time.

"Read this carefully so that you understand it. When you come home we will show you the model," Crick writes.

"We think we have found the basic copying mechanism by which life comes from life," he writes.

On Thursday, Heritage Auctions in New York will sell Crick's 1962 Nobel Prize medal for physiology or medicine. It was awarded to Crick, along with his DNA co-discoverer James Dewey Watson, and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins.

Heritage Auctions said the medal could fetch more than $500 000.
- SAPA

Read more on:    genetics

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