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DNA discoverer Crick's Nobel, letter fetch millions at auction

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Nobel Prize medal won by Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA, sold for $2.27 million at auction on Thursday, a day after a letter in which Crick outlined the achievement to his young son became the most expensive letter ever auctioned when it fetched more than $6 million.

Crick, working with James Watson, unraveled the double-helix structure and function of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in Cambridge, England. They won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1962 for their ground-breaking work.

Crick's Nobel medal sold for $2,270,500, Heritage Auctions said, or more than four times the pre-sale estimate. It did not identify the buyer.

On Wednesday, the price of a seven-page handwritten letter from 1953 in which Crick, then 33, described the discovery to his young son who was away at boarding school, soared to $6,059,750 when it was auctioned at Christie's.

That far surpassed the old record for a letter sold at auction of $3.4 million, paid in 2008 for a letter from Abraham Lincoln to a group of school children.

Christie's had estimated the Crick letter, which was being sold by Crick's son, would sell for between $1 million and $2 million. In it, Crick wrote that he believed DNA is a code and that the order of the bases (the letters) makes one gene different from another.

Crick went on to work as a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, and died in 2004.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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