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Crick Double Helix Letter to His Son Goes on Auction Block


By Bio-IT World Staff

February 26, 2013 | 60 years ago this week, James Watson pieced together the final pieces of a model of DNA and, together with his colleague Francis Crick, constructed the iconic double helix model.

The classic paper by Crick and Watson wasn’t published in Nature for a further two months—the anniversary is celebrated on DNA Day (April 25, 2013). But three weeks after the model was made, Crick relayed the discovery and its significance in a remarkable letter to his 12-year-old son Michael, who at the time was away at a British boarding school.

“My dear Michael, Jim Watson and I have probably made a most important discovery,” begins the letter, which is described in a New York Times article by Nicholas Wade.

“Our structure is very beautiful,” Crick continues. “D.N.A. can be thought of as a very long chain with flat bits sticking out…”

Crick signs off: “Read this carefully so that you understand it. When you come home we will show you the model. Lots of love, Daddy.”

To the dismay of some, no doubt, Crick’s charming letter is about to go up for auction at Christie’s on April 10 (by coincidence, the midway point of this year’s Bio-IT World Expo).

Michael Crick and his wife have donated a half share to the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, where Crick worked for many years following mandatory retirement from the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, UK.

The letter is officially valued between $1-2 million, but an auction house expert says it could fetch closer to $3 million.

Crick letter: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/02/26/science/crick-letter-on-dna-discovery.html?ref=science 

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