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US scientist sparks race row
Nobel Prize winner reportedly said black people were less intelligent than whites.
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2007 20:00 GMT
Watson pioneered the study of DNA [AFP]
A US Nobel Prize-winning scientist has been suspended from some duties at a New York laboratory after he reportedly said black people were less intelligent than whites.

James Watson, who won the prize in 1962 for his part in discovering the structure of DNA, also pulled out of a UK book tour after a newspaper interview sparked outrage.
Watson told the Sunday Times 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."
On Friday, Watson's publicist said he had pulled out of his British book tour and gone home.
 
The comments had prompted three organisations, including the Science Museum in London, to cancel his talks.
 
Watson was also suspended from administrative duties at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.
 
The laboratory released a statement saying its "Board of Trustees decided to suspend the administrative responsibilities of Chancellor James Watson pending further deliberation by the board".

Bruce Stillman, the laboratory's president, said that the comments were Watson's "own personal statements and in no way reflect the mission, goals, or principles of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's Board, administration or faculty".
 
Apology

Watson said he was sorry for the comments in an appearance at the Royal Society in London.

"I am mortified about what has happened," he told a group of scientists and journalists. "I can certainly understand why people, reading those words, have reacted in the ways they have.

"To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologise unreservedly.

"That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief."
Source:
Agencies
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