Nation

DNA discoverer’s Nobel sells for $2m

NEW YORK — The Nobel Prize won by Francis Crick in 1962 for his discovery of DNA was sold Thursday at auction for more than $2 million.

Heritage Auctions identified the buyer as Jack Wang, chief executive of Biomobie, a regenerative medicine technology company in Silicon Valley and Shanghai. The price surpassed the pre-sale estimate of $500,000.

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On Wednesday, a letter Crick wrote to his son describing the discovery sold at Christie’s for $6 million. It was a record for a letter, eclipsing the price for an Abraham Lincoln letter that went for $3.4 million in 2008.

Crick was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine along with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins. He spent the latter decades of his career doing brain research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif. He died in 2004 at age 88.

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The medal was among 11 artifacts Crick’s heirs offered at the Heritage auction.

Wang said the medal will be used to encourage Biomobie scientists working on regenerating damaged human organs. He said the company’s work could ‘‘launch a biomedical revolution like the discovery of the structure of DNA.’’

Crick’s granddaughter Kindra said the family decided to sell the medal and other items because they had been in storage for 50 years, first locked up in a room of her grandfather’s home in La Jolla and later in a safe deposit box.

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They chose to sell them now because it ‘‘coincides with the 60th anniversary of the historic discovery and 50 years since he received the award,’’ she said.

Twenty percent of the proceeds from the Heritage Auctions sale will go to the new Francis Crick Institute in London, a medical research institute slated to open in 2015. Half the proceeds from the Christie’s sale will benefit the Salk Institute, the granddaughter said.

Associated Press

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