James D. Watson

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James Dewey Watson (born April 6, 1928) is an American molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist, best known as one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA with Francis Crick, in 1953. Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material".[2] He studied at the University of Chicago and Indiana University and subsequently worked at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory in England, where he first met his future collaborator and personal friend Francis Crick.

In 1956, Watson became a junior member of Harvard University's Biological Laboratories, holding this position until 1976, promoting research in molecular biology. Between 1988 and 1992, Watson was associated with the National Institutes of Health, helping to establish the Human Genome Project. Watson has written many science books, including the seminal textbook The Molecular Biology of the Gene (1965) and his bestselling book The Double Helix (1968) about the DNA structure discovery.

From 1968 he served as director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) on Long Island, New York, greatly expanding its level of funding and research. At CSHL, he shifted his research emphasis to the study of cancer. In 1994, he became its president for ten years, and then subsequently he served as its chancellor until 2007, when he resigned, due to a controversy over comments he made claiming black Africans are less intelligent than whites during an interview.[3]


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