Nobel Prize-winning DNA scientist James Watson disgraced following racist remarks

Mindy Sparks
January 14, 2019

Nobel Prize-winning American scientist James Watson has been stripped of his honorary titles after repeating comments about race and intelligence.

"Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory acknowledges and appreciates Dr. Watson's substantial scientific legacy, including his role as founding director of the Human Genome Project and his critical leadership in the development of research and education at the Laboratory during his prior tenure as director and president", CSHL said.

The 90-year-old geneticist resigned under fire from his laboratory in 2007 after telling a British newspaper that people of African descent tend to have lower intelligence.

In this month's documentary, he said genes cause a difference on average between blacks and whites on IQ tests.

While the DNA pioneer also expressed his hope for everyone to be equal, he added that "people who have to deal with black employees found this is not true". After "unequivocally" rejecting Watson's "unsubstantiated and reckless" opinions, the Laboratory stripped the 90-year-old scientist of all of his titles, noting that the institution "condemns the misuse of science to justify prejudice".

In a statement, CSHL said in light of Dr Watson's views the laboratory had taken "additional steps" against Dr Watson, including revoking his honorary titles of chancellor emeritus, Oliver R. Grace professor emeritus, and honorary trustee.

Michael Wigler, a veteran molecular biologist at the laboratory, said that Watson's views on race were not newsworthy in the first place.


Rufus Watson rejected the notion that his father is a "bigot" in a telephone interview with the Associated Press.

But his recent comments "effectively reverse the written apology and retraction Dr Watson made in 2007", and "require the severing of any remaining vestiges of his involvement", Cold Spring Harbor's chief executive, Bruce Stillman, and its board of trustees chairwoman, Marilyn Simons, said in a statement.

Watson's son Rufus said Friday in a telephone interview that his father, who's 90, was in a nursing home following an October vehicle crash, and that his awareness of his surroundings is "very minimal".

He had told a magazine in 2007 he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" as "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - where all the testing says not really".

He shared the Nobel in 1962 with Maurice Wilkins and Francis Crick for their 1953 discovery of the DNA's double helix structure.

'My dad's statements might make him out to be a bigot and discriminatory, ' he said, but that's not true. The breakthrough was key to determining how genetic material works.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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