The saga of James Watson has taken a strange twist. Slated recently for saying of Africa “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really”, it turns out Watson is himself 16% black.
Analysis of his genome, produced recently as part of the trend for celebrity sequencing, reveals 16% of his genes are from an ancestor of African descent, according to reports in UK newspapers (Times, Independent).
“This level is what you would expect in someone who had a great-grandparent who was African. It was very surprising to get this result for Jim,” says Kari Stefansson of deCODE Genetics which carried out the analysis (both stories carry this quote).
What analysis they carried out isn’t clear. There is no immediately obvious publication or press release that this is pinned to. A figure of “16% black” is also pretty precise. Personally I’d like some more information on exactly how they reached this figure. While some bloggers are celebrating this perceived comeuppance others are, like me, not convinced.