Letter from DNA discoverer to be auctioned in NYC

Sixty years ago scientist Francis Crick wrote a letter to his 12-year-old son saying he and a colleague had discovered something very beautiful. Now, the note and its hand-drawn diagrams are being auctioned off in New York. Christie's estimates the letter could fetch $1 million or more at the April 10 sale.

Crick's letter describes to his son how he and James Watson found the copying mechanism by which life comes from life. It includes a simple sketch of DNA's double helix structure which Crick concedes he can't draw very well.

The seven page handwritten letter from Francis Crick in Cambridge, England to Michael Crick at his boarding school concludes, Read this carefully so that you will understand it. When you come home we will show you the model. Lots of love, Daddy.

Michael Crick, now 72, said Saturday he immediately understood his father had made a breakthrough. Though he added, I don't think any of us at the time quite realized the full impact it would have.

Francis Crick, who died in 2004 at age 88, was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1962 along with 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., where he became a professor in 1977.