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It may not be art, but it could be the perfect holiday gift for the DNA lover who has everything: the James D. Watson bobblehead doll.

The eight-inch-high doll depicts the famous scientist wearing his trademark yellow sweater and holding the DNA double helix—the structure he helped determine 50 years ago.

James D. Watson bobblehead doll.

The bobblehead is the brainchild of Rachel von Rauschloeb, who runs the DNA microarray facility at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. She came up with the idea while trying to find ways to focus attention on genetics research. It was a joke, at first.

“But then, I thought, ‘Hey why not?’” says von Rauschloeb. “Dr. Watson didn’t know what a bobblehead is, but it didn’t take long to convince him to do it.”

The real bobblehead? Venter (left), the doll, Watson.

The doll is available at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory bookstore and through several Web sites. More than 1,000 were sold in the first week, and Von Rauschloeb is considering doing a bobblehead of Watson’s partner in the famous discovery, Francis Crick.

Creating the art wasn’t easy. The first model looked like G.I. Joe holding a double helix, says Von Rauschloeb. After five more attempts they got a likeness that resembles the scientific superstar.

But some people who have seen the bobblehead say it bears an uncanny resemblance to another DNA pioneer, J. Craig Venter, who led the team at Celera Genomics in Rockville, Maryland, that sequenced the human genome.

“Several people have said it looks like Venter, but we think it looks more like Watson,” says von Rauschloeb. “Watson likes it because he thinks it makes him look younger.”

For more information about the doll click here: SciVon Enterprises.

Nancy Touchette

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