James Watson, the 79-year-old scientific icon made famous by his work in DNA, has set off an international furor with comments to a London newspaper about intelligence levels among blacks.
The renowned Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where Watson served as chancellor, suspended his administrative responsibilities Thursday following the outcry, the laboratory said in a news release.
Watson has a history of provocative statements about social implications of science. But several friends said Thursday he is no racist. And Watson, who won a Nobel Prize in 1962 for co-discovering the structure of DNA, apologized and says he is "mortified."
A profile of Watson in the Sunday Times Magazine of London quoted him as saying that he's "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."