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.