Auction of huge DNA sculptures to fund disease research

Twenty-one sculptures based on the DNA double helix, currently on show in London, to be sold to fund medical research.

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    This summer, Lord Nelson, perched high on his column above London's Trafalgar Square, has company.

    The UK capital is hosting a collection of 21 giant sculptures inspired by the DNA double helix, the molecule that contains the instructions every organism needs to develop, live and reproduce.

    "If you look closely there's two hands, one is a young child, one is an older man," says graphic artist Darren Baker, who decorated one of the sculptures.

    "The concept there is to show humanity coming together and with that we can create a force for good and help fight diseases and help humanity as a whole."

    The exhibition was arranged in support of one of Britain's largest charities, Cancer Research UK, and the proceeds of an auction of the sculptures will go towards a new research institute focused on tackling the major human diseases

    The $1bn Francis Crick Institute - named after one of the scientists who discovered the structure of DNA - is due to open in London next year.

    "We want to bring together 1,200 of the world's very best scientists, all under one roof," says Sam Godfrey, from Cancer Research UK.

    "Together they are going to collaborate and work together to beat not just cancer, but all major human disease. We've got a real chance of revolutionising medical science."

    The charity also asked leading designers like Ian Callum, the director of design at carmaker Jaguar, to decorate the works.

    Another design, created by British clothing company Ted Baker, covers the helix with a cascade of pearlescent buttons. Many of them explore the links between art and science.

    "The ideas is to create something that makes you think about art, that makes you think about science, or about maths," says Pilar Enrich, who had her own DNA sequenced as part of her research for the project.

    The sculptures will be on display around central London until Sunday, September 6.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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