A U.S. Nobel Prize-winning scientist has been suspended from his duties following racist remarks he made against blacks that triggered a worldwide.
"The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Board of Trustees decided to suspend the administrative responsibilities of Chancellor James D. Watson, PhD, pending further deliberation by the board," the lab said in a statement.
Watson, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1962 for his part in discovering the structure of DNA, had been in London for a book tour when an interview he gave to the Sunday Times sparked a furor.
He had been the number two at the Long Island laboratory, just outside New York. But the lab said Watson was suspended "after the board's public statement yesterday disagreeing with the comments attributed to Dr Watson in the October 14, 2007 edition of The Sunday Times."
Watson told the British weekly he was "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."
Lab president Bruce Stillman said the board of trustees "vehemently disagree with these statements and are bewildered and saddened if he indeed made such comments."
Such remarks were Watson's "own personal statements and in no way reflect the mission, goals, or principles of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's Board, administration or faculty," he said in a separate statement.
"Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory does not engage in any research that could even form the basis of the statements attributed to Dr. Watson."
Earlier Friday, Watson canceled his British book tour to return home and said in a statement that he was "mortified about what has happened."
"More importantly, I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said. I can certainly understand why people, reading those words, have reacted in the ways they have.
"To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief."
His publicist revealed that Watson, who arrived in London this week and had been due to take part in several events until October 25, had pulled out of the British book tour Friday and gone home.