The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory revoked the honorary title of its longtime leader James D. Watson on Friday, calling his recent statements about genetic differences in racial intelligence "unfounded and ruthless."
Dr. Watson, one of the most influential scientists of the twentieth century, had apologized after making similar statements in 2007 to a British newspaper. At that time, he had to resign his post as Chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island. There he retained his office as well as the titles Chancellor emeritus, Oliver R. Grace Professor emeritus and honorary trustee. The Graduate School of Biosciences at the Research Center Watson was named, and the lab held a 90th birthday party for him last spring.
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However, his recent comments "apply the written apology and the revocation of Dr. Ing. Watson's 2007 effective on "and" requires cutting off any remaining traces of his involvement, "said Bruce Stillman, chief executive of Cold Spring Harbor, and Marilyn Simons, chairman of the board of trustees, in a statement.
Dr Watson's new comments were released in an in-camera interview with Mark Mannucci, the producer of a documentary broadcast last week in PBS as part of his series "American Masters." He shows individuals who have made significant contributions to American culture In the film, Dr. Watson points to a view that average IQ differences between blacks and whites reflect underlying genetic differences that are shaped by natural selection.
Leading geneticists, however, say that even modern DNA studies are not are able to make such hypotheses about differences between human populations to confirm.
Mr. Mannucci said he had dr. Watson made it clear from the beginning that the film would address the controversy surrounding his 2007 remarks. Watson is recovering from a car accident and his family members did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"Dr. Watson's statements are reprehensible, unsupported by science, and in no way represent the views of CSHL, its trustees, faculty, staff, or students, "said the laboratory.
Michael Wigler, a veteran of the laboratory's molecular biologist Watson's views
"It is not news when a ninety-year-old man who has lost cognitive inhibition and has walked for decades in his old age speaks of his presence," Dr. Wigler wrote in one E-mail: "It's not a moment to think, it's just a glimpse into a corner of the subconscious of this nation and a strong sense of ill-conceived secrets of the past."