A rare scientific document, the letter written by Francis Krik to his longtime son 12, Michael, a few days after he discovered with Jim Watson the DNA double helix, is auctioned on April 10 by Christie's, at a price that will be as appreciated , from one to two million dollars.
"Dear Michael, Jim Watson and I, we've probably made the most great discovery." So begins the letter he wrote in 19 March 1953, Francis Krik to his son, 19 days after the discovery of the double strand of DNA.
The importance of the letter from the "father" of DNA is great. Not only because it contains the first written description of DNA as a code but also because it simply explains the mechanism of creating its identical copies.
Francis Krik recommends his son to "read the letter carefully," in which the entire chemical name of the DNA is quoted. The value of the letter is such that it can be compared to that made by Albert Einstein to US President Franklin Roosevelt, warning him of the danger posed by nuclear weapons.
Francis Wolgren, head of Christie's international department for books and manuscripts, reported, according to the New York Times, that Einstein's letter had been estimated from 800.000 dollars to 1,2 million dollars, and finally sold two million dollars, to an unknown US buyer.
Kick's son, Michael, is now 72 and lives in Seattle. He remembers that when he had received his father's letter, he was locked in a classroom at his school and read it many times, trying to get the name of DNA, Deoxyribonucleic Acid.
Frances Krik's letter was written as soon as the problem with the paternity of DNA discovery had been resolved, which had arisen with a group of other scientists working at London's Kings College.
Rosalind Franklin had at the same time collected very important information about DNA using X-rays.