Family of DNA Nobel winner flogs medal

A wealthy Chinese biomedical boss yesterday paid $2.27m - almost £1.5m - for the Nobel Prize won by Francis Crick. Crick was the eminent British scientist who co-discovered DNA.

New owner Jack Wang was reportedly willing to pay double the amount of cash he ended up paying. Is the family selling off Crick's Nobel prize medal the start of a trend?

Profitable genes

Not quite, but it isn't common - yet. Come June, William Faulkner's 1950 Price for Literature will head towards Sotheby's. Last year saw the 1975 medal of Danish physicist Aage Niels Bohr put on the block, making a somewhat less impressive $47,000.

In the case of the Crick sale - the Nobel medal contains 23-karat gold - his heirs look to benefit, but so should science, so it's claimed. Jack Wang, owner of biomedical operation Biomobie, says he will use the medal to promote Chinese science.

"Dr. Crick's Nobel Prize medal and diploma will be used to encourage scientists unraveling the mysteries of the Bioboosti, a bio electrical signal that may control and enable the regeneration of damaged human organs," Wang said in a statement reported by NBC.

$5.3m for a letter

"The discovery of the Bioboosti may launch a biomedical revolution like the discovery of the structure of DNA. It may recover damaged human organs and retard the aging process, achieving the goal of self-recovering from disease and poor health conditions."

Wang also picked up Crick's lab coat for $8,962, complete with gold spiral logo, similar to that of a DNA molecule. But the biggest sum raised - paid for by an anonymous bidder - was $5.3m for a letter written by Crick, including a penned diagram, to his 12-year-old son, explaining the DNA's double-helix make-up.

Family member Michael Crick has reportedly claimed that 20% of the auction proceeds will be directed to London's Francis Crick Institute, while the remainder of the cash will be distributed to Crick's family.