James D. Watson is a zoologist, geneticist and molecular biologist. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. He is most recently well-known due to his controversial comments about race and genetics, for which he has been largely ostracized.
Prior to his unfortunate foray into racial genetics, he was highly regarded for his work on molecular biology. He is credited for significant contributions to our understanding of cancer, neurological diseases and the genetic basis for cancer and other diseases.
He worked closely with Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins on groundbreaking research on the structure of nucleic acid. Their work was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The discovery of the double helix is considered one of the more pivotal discoveries in science. He has also written a number of books, including a textbook, Molecular Biology of the Gene and The Double Helix.
His body of work has been undermined by his positions on homosexuality, obesity, intellect, and physical attractiveness - traits for which he promoted genetic manipulation. In his view, measures should be taken to selectively reproduce to increase intelligence or physical attractiveness, and to decrease “unfavorable” traits such as a propensity for obesity.
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