DNA pioneer James Watson stripped of honours after 'reckless' race remarks

DNA pioneer James Watson stripped of honours after 'reckless' race remarks

In response, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in NY, where Watson has held numerous leadership roles over almost four decades, "unequivocally [rejected]" the 90-year-old scientists' "unsubstantiated and reckless" comments. The scientist said at the time that he made a decision to sell the award in an attempt to redeem his reputation after his comments in 2007, The New York Times reported.

Mr Watson had always been associated with the lab, becoming its director in 1968, its president in 1994 and its chancellor 10 years later. "The Laboratory condemns the misuse of science to justify prejudice", the laboratory said in a January 11 statement before revoking three titles - Chancellor Emeritus, Oliver R. Grace Professor Emeritus and honorary trustee soon afterward.

In 2007, he said he was "inherently gloomy" about Africa's prospects because Western policies towards the continent assumed Africans were as intelligent as Europeans.

But Cold Spring Harbor said it was now stripping him of those titles after he said his views had not changed in the documentary American Masters: Decoding Watson, aired on USA public broadcaster PBS earlier this month.

James Watson, who discovered the double-helix structure of DNA alongside Francis Crick in the 1950s based on the work of British chemist Rosalind Franklin, said in a PBS film that genes cause a difference in intelligence between white and black people in IQ tests, CNN reported today.

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.

More news: More than 6 million already hit by flu, CDC says
More news: Blake Griffin Avoided Steve Ballmer’s Handshake Before Pistons-Clippers In Los Angeles
More news: Israel ends military operation at Lebanese border

The Times reported that Watson's family said he was unable to respond, having been in medical care since a auto accident in October.

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".

Today, there is a consensus among scientists that race is a purely social construct, with no evidence to suggest distinct genetic differences between individuals from different populations.

In the PBS documentary, the host asked Watson if he had changed his views on race in the decade since his departure from the lab.

He and British biologist Dr Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 for their discovery nine years earlier of the double helix structure of DNA, the molecules that carry all the genetic information determining how we grow, function and reproduce.

In an interview with the news agency, his son Rufus said Dr Watson's statements "might make him out to be a bigot and discriminatory" but that was not true.

Related Articles

  • Game of Thrones unveils season 8 premiere date, new teaser trailer

    Game of Thrones unveils season 8 premiere date, new teaser trailer

    A variety of tidbits have been revealed , including that there will be six super-sized episodes, perhaps as long as movies. Draw your swords: the eighth and final season of HBO's Game of Thrones is almost here, and its first teaser is out now.
    Trump concealed details from meetings with Putin

    Trump concealed details from meetings with Putin

    Russian Federation has denied interfering, and Trump has said repeatedly there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow. Speaking to Fox News' Jeanine Pirro, Trump denied the reporting and said, "you'd see that they found absolutely nothing".
    Dead And 12 Hospitalized After Mass Drug Overdose In California

    Dead And 12 Hospitalized After Mass Drug Overdose In California

    Police were blaming a mass overdose in Chico on Fentanyl after one person died and 14 others were hospitalized Saturday. Mike O'Brien, a police captain in Chico, California , said: "Certainly there's potential for additional fatalities".
  • Anderson gets off to a decent start at Australian Open

    Anderson gets off to a decent start at Australian Open

    Open champion Sloane Stephens, No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka, No. 19 Caroline Garcia, No. 29 Donna Vekic and No. 31 Petra Martic. The 26-year-old Australian won last month's Open wildcard playoff to earn his way into the main draw.
    Ten feared dead as plane crashes during landing

    Ten feared dead as plane crashes during landing

    A flight engineer survived and was taken to hospital, the army said in a statement carried by the semi-official Fars news agency. Yet a spokeswoman for Kyrgyzstan's Manas airport said the plane belonged to Iran's Payam Air, Reuters reported.
    Lexus LC convertible concept looks ready for production

    Lexus LC convertible concept looks ready for production

    Chief Designer Tadao Mori said that the concept has unmistakable design of LC Coupe but has been reimagined as future convertible. Its short overhangs, 22-inch wheels and wide stance are all reminders of its performance potential.
  • Suspect in Wisconsin killings, kidnapping due in court

    Suspect in Wisconsin killings, kidnapping due in court

    She teaches science to middle and high school students, and she remembered one middle schooler named Jake Patterson. Some 2,000 volunteers - a number equivalent to two-thirds of Barron's population - searched for Jayme at one point.
    An egg dethrones Kylie Jenner's most-liked Instagram post

    An egg dethrones Kylie Jenner's most-liked Instagram post

    Her photo which was posted in February a year ago set the record for most-liked Instagram image with over 18 million likes. Although the profile has a mere (in comparison) 2 million followers, the image of the egg received over 20 million likes.
    Chelsea's Sarri - Jorginho 'trouble' proof club need Fabregas replacement

    Chelsea's Sarri - Jorginho 'trouble' proof club need Fabregas replacement

    Despite having plenty of players on their books, Sarri said Chelsea lacked depth in key positions such as central midfield. We were better in the second half but we need to improve the mental reaction.
  • Tom Brady sends message to haters, critics in postgame interview

    Tom Brady sends message to haters, critics in postgame interview

    Those would be the same Chiefs who lost to the Patriots in the regular season, albeit in a close game in Foxborough, Mass. Brady has defied the odds by staying at the top of his game for as long as he has, but time is catching up with him.
    No. 1 Duke beats No. 13 Florida State in thriller

    No. 1 Duke beats No. 13 Florida State in thriller

    No. 1 Duke remains on the road to battle No. 13 Florida State Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee in an ACC showdown. The game marks the Blue Devils fifth versus an AP top 15 opponents this season - most nationally.
    Weather Authority: Snow to continue falling into the afternoon Sunday

    Weather Authority: Snow to continue falling into the afternoon Sunday

    A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for counties south of 36 Highway, including Platte, Clinton, Caldwell, and Livingston. The Weather Network reported at least three deaths via Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP).