DNA pioneer Francis Crick's Nobel Prize up for auction

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 26, 2013 07:50 hrs

60 years after Francis Crick won a Nobel Prize for medicine, the researcher's family is now offering his gold medal and diploma for sale at an auction.

In 1953 Crick and James D. Watson published a short paper in the journal Nature with a quiet title: "Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid."

They changed the world with it - they were describing DNA, the molecule in the cells of living things that determines their genetic characteristics.

They and a fellow researcher, Maurice Wilkins, won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1962.

Nobody has tried to sell a Nobel medal in 70 years, so nobody has a real idea what it's worth.

Heritage Auctions, which is organizing the sale, suggested an opening bid of 250,000 dollars, ABC News reported.

The analysis of DNA was one of the great scientific accomplishments of the last century.

What's more, it's cloaked in controversy; many historians and scientists say more credit ought to go to Rosalind Franklin, who did some of the measurements on which the Nature paper was based.

She died in 1958, before the prize was awarded, while Crick lived until 2004.

Crick's family said a portion of the proceeds would go to the Francis Crick Institute, scheduled to open in London in 2015.

The family said the new facility will be used in the search for cures for some of the world's most devastating diseases.

"This year marks the 60th anniversary of the historic discovery of the structure of DNA and 50 years have passed since Francis Crick was awarded the Nobel Prize," Kindra Crick, a granddaughter of the scientist, in a statement from the auction house said.

"For most of that time, the Nobel Prize and the unique personal diploma have been locked up. By auctioning his Nobel it will finally be made available for public display and be well looked after. Our hope is that, by having it available for display, it can be an inspiration to the next generation of scientists," she added.

The medal will be displayed in London March 5-6, and the auction is scheduled for April 10 in New York City.

Also being offered are the endorsed check Dr. Crick received for 85,739.88 Swedish Krona, plus an old lab coat he wore. (ANI)

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