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Nobel Prize Returned To James Watson By Russian Billionaire

U.S. geneticist James Watson has got his Nobel Prize back in a Moscow ceremony six months after auctioning it off to a Russian billionaire who secretly intended to return it.

Alisher Usmanov, with wealth estimated at $14.1 billion, said he wanted "to show my respect for a scientist who has made an invaluable contribution to the development of modern science."

The prize should stay with its original recipient, he said, adding he was pleased the money will be used to develop medicine and "save lives in the future.”

Watson used the $4.8 million he earned at the December auction to support his family and donate to charities and scientific endeavors, including three universities he attended.

"Russia has a rich history in science and a tradition of philanthropy and patronage," said Vladimir Fortov, president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, where the medal-returning ceremony was held.

"Science and charity serve all of humanity and know no borders.”

Watson won the award in 1953 for his part in the groundbreaking discovery of DNA’s double-helix structure.

Based on reporting by Newsweek and TASS