Revealed: scientist who sparked racism row has black genes
Monday 10 December 2007
A Nobel Prize-winning scientist who provoked a public outcry by claiming black Africans were less intelligent than whites has a DNA profile with up to 16 times more genes of black origin than the average white European.
An analysis of the genome of James Watson showed that 16 per cent of his genes were likely to have come from a black ancestor of African descent. By contrast, most people of European descent would have no more than 1 per cent.
"This level is what you would expect in someone who had a great-grandparent who was African," said Kari Stefansson of deCODE Genetics, whose company carried out the analysis. "It was very surprising to get this result for Jim."
The findings were made available after Dr Watson became only the second person to publish his fully sequenced genome online earlier this year. Dr Watson was forced to resign his post as head of a research laboratory in New York shortly after triggering an international furore by questioning the comparative intelligence of Africans. In an interview during his recent British book tour, the American scientist said he was "inherently gloomy about the prospects for 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 Science Museum in London cancelled a lecture by him, while the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, branded his comments "racist propaganda".
Other scientists working in the field of molecular biology quickly distanced themselves from the comments, saying that it was not possible to draw such conclusions from the work that had been done on DNA.
The study of the DNA of Dr Watson who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for medicine adds another twist to the controversy surrounding the American scientist's comments.
In addition to the 16 per cent of his genes which were identified as likely to have come from a black ancestor of African descent, a further 9 per cent were likely to have come from an ancestor of Asian descent, the test indicated.
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 5 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Caitlyn Jenner's mother Ester thought her daughter, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, had transitioned for money
Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
Charles Kennedy dead: A guy once asked the Lib Dem leader who his favourite Muppet was and his letter response was wonderful
Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...