DNA pioneer Wat­son stripped of honours over racist the­o­ries

Daily Mail - - News - Mail For­eign Ser­vice

A SCIENTIST who won the No­bel Prize for his work on DNA has been stripped of hon­orary ti­tles over his racist the­o­ries on ge­net­ics.

James Wat­son, who shared his prize for his work at Cam­bridge with Fran­cis Crick, has re­peated his claim that black peo­ple are in­her­ently less in­tel­li­gent.

The Amer­i­can bi­ol­o­gist, 90, said in a TV doc­u­men­tary shown this month that he stood by his views that ‘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 claimed the dif­fer­ences in in­tel­li­gence be­tween black and white peo­ple was borne out by their av­er­age scores in IQ tests. In his orig­i­nal re­marks to a mag­a­zine in 2007, Dr Wat­son had added that while he hoped ev­ery­one was equal, ‘peo­ple who have to deal with black em­ploy­ees find this is not true’.

Last week he was re­moved from three hon­orary po­si­tions at the New York lab where he spent most of his ca­reer. The board of trus­tees at Cold Spring Har­bor Lab­o­ra­tory on Long Is­land de­scribed the views of Dr Wat­sonas rep­re­hen­si­ble.

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. The break­through was key to un­der­stand­ing the body’s ge­netic code.

In Fe­bru­ary 1953, a ju­bi­lant Dr Crick walked into The Ea­gle pub in Cam­bridge, the local for sci­en­tists at the Univer­sity’s Cavendish Lab­o­ra­tory, and pro­claimed he and Dr Wat­son had ‘found the se­cret of life’.

A blue plaque at the pub marks their dis­cov­ery. Dr Crick died in 2004.

In a state­ment, Cold Spring Har­bor Lab­o­ra­tory said it ‘un­equiv­o­cally re­jects the un­sub­stan­ti­ated and reck­less per­sonal opin­ions Dr Wat­son ex­pressed on the sub­ject of eth­nic­ity and ge­net­ics’. It said it was re­vok­ing his ti­tles as chan­cel­lor emer­i­tus, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus and hon­orary trustee.

The lab added: ‘Dr Wat­son’s state­ments are rep­re­hen­si­ble, un­sup­ported by science, and in no way rep­re­sent the views of CSHL, its trus­tees, fac­ulty, staff, or stu­dents. The lab­o­ra­tory con­demns the mis­use of science to jus­tify prej­u­dice.’

Dr Wat­son’s son Ru­fus said his father, who is in a nurs­ing home fol­low­ing a car crash in Oc­to­ber, was be­ing made out to be a bigot, which was un­true.

‘They just rep­re­sent his rather nar­row in­ter­pre­ta­tion of ge­netic destiny,’ he said.

Wat­son: Claims on TV

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