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DNA sculptures raise funds for disease research centre

Joe Jones

The auctioning of DNA-inspired sculptures created by world-renowned artists and designers have raised more than £250,000 for research into serious diseases.

A total of 21 sculptures, designed by the likes of Ai Weiwei, Zaha Hadid, Benjamin Shine and Jane Morgan, were sold as part of Cancer Research UK’s campaign to raise money for the Francis Crick Institute.

The two pieces by Ai Weiwei were bought for a total of £62,000 at leading auction house Christie’s on Wednesday night.

Installed across London over the summer as part of the Cancer Research UK’s “What’s in your DNA?” art trail, the sculptures appeared at some of the city’s most iconic locations such as Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Andrew Pisker, chairman of Cancer Research UK’s double helix art installation, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have raised £250,000 at the Christie’s live auction. 

“We are fundraising, not just for an incredible building, but for humanity – the Crick will deliver research into the diseases that pose the greatest threat to all humanity and it will have global impact.”

Eleven other sculptures were auctioned on the night from Cancer Research UK’s DNA Trail.

Another nine sculptures, as well as other donated items – including a ‘portrait’ of Francis Crick’s DNA – are being auctioned online by Christie’s, with bidding closing on 13 October. 

The money raised by the auction will go towards the £100m that Cancer Research UK has pledged to raise to fund the construction of the Crick, a world-leading centre of biomedical research and innovation due to open in 2016.

When it opens, the centre will see more than a thousand scientists coming together under one roof to accelerate the rate of progress in tackling the major diseases, such as cancer, facing the global population. 

It is a collaboration between six of the world’s leading medical research organisations: Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research, the Wellcome Trust, Imperial College London, King’s College London and University College London.

Francis Crick was one of the people to discover the DNA double helix, alongside James Watson and Maurice Wilkins, and based on the work of Rosalind Franklin.  It is thought to be one of the most significant discoveries in modern science and has transformed our understanding of the human body and disease.  

To bid in the online auction, please visit:, or for more information about Cancer Research UK’s campaign to raise money for the Francis Crick Institute, visit


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I can't say I would find them to be interesting, I suppose I would have to see them but again, anything which helps charities is a good thing and it's certainly different.


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Makes you wonder why musicians only jump on the big issues and not things like this.

Its a nice warm story. Thanks JJ! 


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