Life's work: James Watson (2013)

James Watson won a Nobel Prize for his work on the discovery of the structure of DNA.

Posted: Jan 14, 2019 9:15 AM
Updated: Jan 14, 2019 9:15 AM

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.

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.

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 laboratory said it "unequivocally rejects the unsubstantiated and reckless personal opinions Dr. James D. Watson expressed," noting the statements were "reprehensible [and] unsupported by science."

"The Laboratory condemns the misuse of science to justify prejudice," its statement added.

CNN has attempted to reach Watson for comment.

Watson had previously told Britain's Sunday Times newspaper in 2007 that he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really."

The scientist added that while he hoped everyone was equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true."

Those comments led CSHL to relieve him of his administrative duties, but he retained his honorary titles until now.

While Watson apologized for the comments in 2007, he said in the PBS documentary "American Masters: Decoding Watson," which aired on 2 January, that his views had not changed.

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

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.

During a lecture tour in 2000, he suggested there might be links between a person's weight and their level of ambition and between skin color and sexual prowess.

"That's why you have Latin lovers," he said, according to The Associated Press, which cited people who attended the lecture. "You've never heard of an English lover. Only an English patient."

And in a British TV documentary that aired in 2003, Watson suggested stupidity was a genetic disease that should be treated.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844951

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161002006
Mobile741871379
Madison53279732
Shelby38325368
Baldwin38068589
Tuscaloosa36009641
Montgomery34482781
Lee25550263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22451406
Etowah20013517
Marshall18777316
Houston17727425
St. Clair16875358
Limestone16135218
Cullman16044303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14968306
Talladega14189299
DeKalb12967269
Walker12020380
Blount10714192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10157194
Coffee9414192
Colbert9334208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7254201
Russell707765
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6932195
Franklin6340108
Chambers5783142
Marion5401130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318189
Cherokee317563
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254460
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184947
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 43°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 47°
Oxford
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 41°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: °
High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for our Saturday. This will keep us filled with plenty of sunshine in our weather forecast for our Saturday.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather