A letter from DNA pioneer Francis Crick to his son in which he described the secrets of his groundbreaking model of DNA,written weeks before it was made public,has fetched a whopping USD 5.3 million at an auction here.
An anonymous buyer purchased the letter describing Crick’s discovery of the double helix shape of DNA for USD 5.3 million,more than twice its pre-sale estimate of up to USD 2 million,’BBC News’ reported.
According to auction house Christie’s,the total sale figure including the buyer’s premium amounted to USD 6,059,750.
Crick used the handwritten note to tell his 12-year-old son Michael that he and his colleague Jim Watson had “probably made a most important discovery.”
The seven-page handwritten letter dated March 19,1953 expresses Crick’s personal excitement of the recognition of the double helix structure of DNA,the building block of life.
Michael,who was at a British boarding school,was instructed to “read this carefully so that you understand it.
When you come home we will show you the model.”
In the letter,Crick writes: “Jim Watson and I have probably made a most important discovery. We have built a model for the structure of de-oxy-ribose-nucleic-acid (read it carefully) called DNA. You may remember that the genes of the chromosomes – which carry the hereditary factors – are made up of protein and DNA,” Christie’s said.
“Our structure is very beautiful… Now we believe that the DNA is a code. That is,the order of the bases (the letters) makes one gene different from another gene (just as one page of print is different from another)… In other words we think we have found the basic copying mechanism by which life comes from life.
“You can understand that we are very excited. Read this carefully so that you understand it. When you come home we will show you the model,” the letter reads further.
In 1962,Crick,Watson and Maurice Wilkins received the Nobel Prize in medicine for discovery of the structure and function of DNA at the Cavendish Laboratory and at the University of Cambridge.