After Comments on Africans, James Watson’s Own Genes Found 16% African

Dec 10, 2007 12:43pm

James Watson has long been a renegade.  Watson, who shared a Nobel Prize for the structure of DNA, made quite a mess back in October when he was quoted in the Times of London talking about the intelligence of many Africans: “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours–whereas all the testing says not really.”  (Take a look at this previous POST for some context.) Watson apologized profusely, retired as chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory near New York City, and canceled appearances promoting a new book.  Now Watson has run into another renegade–Kari Stefansson, head of deCODE Genetics, a biotech company in Iceland that has made repeated (and sometimes disputed) advances in deciphering the human genome.  It so happens Watson’s own genome is online for all to see–and for anyone who’s learned in such things to analyze.  Stefansson and his team say they did just that–and concluded that whatever Watson may actually think of black Africans, 16% of his own genes probably come from black ancestors. This level is what you would expect in someone who had a great-grandparent who was African,” said Stefansson in Sunday’s London Times.  “It was very surprising to get this result for Jim.” So far, no comment from Dr. Watson.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus