Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Who knew foot in mouth disease was so rampant
James D. Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA and winner of the Nobel prize, raised a storm recently when a British newspaper quoted him saying that black Africans are not as intelligent as whites. But his own brilliant DNA seems to blur the lines.
A new analysis of Dr. Watson’s genome shows that he has 16 times the number of genes considered to be of African origin than the average white European does — about the same amount of African DNA that would show up if one great-grandparent were African, said Kari Stefansson, the chief executive of deCODE Genetics of Iceland, which did the analysis.
"This level is what you would expect in someone who had a great-grandparent who was African," Kari Stefansson of deCODE Genetics told The Independent. "It was very surprising to get this result for Jim."
According to The Times of London in October 2007, Watson said that “there are many people of color who are very talented,” and he hoped people were equal, but that “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.”
In October, Watson stepped down as chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York after his remarks, which sparked strong public criticism.
Neither Stefansson nor a representative of deCODE Genetics responded to requests for comment and a copy of the analysis about Watson's genome.