Research

DNA pioneer James Watson stripped of honors over ‘reprehensible’ racist views

DNA pioneer James Watson stripped of honors over ‘reprehensible’ racist views

And in a British TV documentary that aired in 2003, Watson suggested stupidity was a genetic disease that should be treated.A Nobel Prize-winning American scientist who co-discovered DNA has been stripped of his honorary titles at the laboratory he once led after repeating racist comments in a documentary.

He added that while his hope was that everybody was equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true". However, the move by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory was seemingly one of the final nails in the coffin of Watson's credibility, relevance and overall career, which has all but hit rock bottom.

James Watson shared a 1962 Nobel Prize with collaborator Francis Crick and scientist Maurice Wilkins for discovering in 1953 that DNA was a double helix, shaped like a long, gently twisting ladder.

The graduate school of biological sciences at the research center is named for Watson, and the laboratory held a 90th birthday party for him in the spring.

Watson later apologized for the statement and said that there's no scientific basis for this belief, but the scientist's new comments "effectively reverse the written apology and retraction Dr. Watson made in 2007", a statement from the lab said.

In the documentary, Dr Watson claimed that genes cause a difference on average between black people and white people on IQ tests, a view which has been widely discredited within the genetics field.

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.

More news: Some House Dems upset with Ocasio-Cortez

But leading geneticists say that even modern DNA studies are now unable to validate such hypotheses about differences between human populations.

This was done after the laboratory deemed his recent remarks on race "reprehensible", CNN reported this weekend.

"Dr Watson's statements are reprehensible, unsupported by science, and in no way represent the views of CSHL", it said.

Watson's new comments came in an on-camera interview with Mark Mannucci, producer of a documentary that aired last week on PBS as part of its "American Masters" series, which profiles individuals who have made a major contribution to American culture.

In 1997 he told the Sunday Telegraph that a woman should be allowed to abort a child for any reason, including for homosexuality if a gene could be found that determined it.

"I believe there is very broad support among the faculty for the multiple steps that CSHL is taking in response to Watson's horrific comments", CSHL biologist Justin Kinney told STAT.

'My dad's statements might make him out to be a bigot and discriminatory, ' he said, but that's not true.


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