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

Nobel Prize-winning scientist James Watson stripped of honorary titles after 'reprehensible' race comments

Nobel laureate James Watson has been stripped of honorary titles by the laboratory he once led after spewing more racist comments about intelligence on a recent PBS documentary.

"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's statement said.

But it's his remarks on race that have drawn the most scorn, such as a 2007 interview with a British journalist in which Watson said he is "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" due to (debunked) research allegedly showing racial gaps in intelligence, per The New York Times. "The Laboratory condemns the misuse of science to justify prejudice", the laboratory said in a Friday (Jan 11) statement before revoking three titles - chancellor emeritus, Oliver R. Grace Professor Emeritus, and honorary trustee soon afterwards.

Dr. Watson won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine alongside Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins for their discovery, in 1953, that DNA was a double helix and "its significance for information transfer".

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 U.S. public broadcaster PBS earlier this month.

He also said that while he wished the races were equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".

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The remarks are the latest in a series of racist and homophobic statements that have tainted Watson's career, CNN reported.

In 1997, Britain's Sunday Telegraph quoted him as saying that women should be allowed to abort a child for any reason, such as if a gene for homosexuality were found in the fetus. There's a "difference on the average between blacks and whites on IQ tests", he said.

James Watson co-discovered the DNA molecule structure.

"The statements he made in the documentary are completely and utterly incompatible with our mission, values and policies, and require the severing of any remaining vestiges of his involvement".

The 90-year-old's comments were labeled "reprehensible" by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) on New York's Long Island, where Watson had been the director from 1968 to 1993. 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.

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.

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