Africans less intelligent than Europeans;Lab suspends DNA pioneer Watson

Dr Watson, the Nobel Prize-winning DNA pioneer,has drawn severe criticism over remarks he made in a British newspaper at the weekend.

In the interview, he was quoted as saying Africans were less intelligent than Europeans.

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory had already distanced itself from the scientist’s comments but its trustee board has now suspended him.

A statement from the Long Island, New York, institution said the action was being taken “pending further deliberation by the board”.

Unreserved apology

Dr Watson was due to give a lecture at the Science Museum in London on Friday as part of a book tour. But the museum cancelled the event, saying the scientist had gone beyond the point of acceptable debate.

The Bristol Festival of Ideas has also cancelled an appearance by Dr Watson.

And further critical comment of Dr Watson’s views has come from Dr Craig Venter, the scientist/businessman who led the private effort to decode the human genome, and who, by coincidence, is also visiting the UK to promote a book.

“Skin colour as a surrogate for race is a social concept not a scientific one,” Dr Venter said. “There is no basis in scientific fact or in the human genetic code for the notion that skin colour will be predictive of intelligence.”

He was further quoted as saying that his hope was that everyone was equal but that “people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true”.

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