James Watson : biography
James Dewey Watson, KBE, ForMemRS (born April 6, 1928), is an American molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist, best known as a co-discoverer of the structure of DNA in 1953 with Francis Crick. Watson, 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".. Nobel Prize Site for Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1962. After studies at the University of Chicago (BS 1947) and Indiana University (PhD 1950), he worked at the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory in England, where he first met his future collaborator and friend Francis Crick.
From 1956 to 1976 Watson was on the faculty of the Harvard University Biology Department, promoting research in molecular biology.
From 1968 Watson 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, along with making it a world leading research center in molecular biology. In 1994, he started as president and served for 10 years. He was then appointed chancellor, serving until 2007.
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 textbook The Molecular Biology of the Genehttp://www.amazon.com/Molecular-Biology-Gene-6th-Edition/dp/080539592X/ref=pd_rhf_ee_s_cp_4 (1965) and his bestselling book The Double Helix (1968) about the DNA structure discovery, reissued in a new edition in 2012 – The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix edited by Alex Gann and Jan Witkowski.
Human Genome Project
In 1990, Watson was appointed as the Head of the Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health, a position he held until April 10, 1992. Watson left the Genome Project after conflicts with the new NIH Director, Bernadine Healy. Watson was opposed to Healy’s attempts to acquire patents on gene sequences, and any ownership of the "laws of nature." Two years before stepping down from the Genome Project, he had stated his own opinion on this long and ongoing controversy which he saw as an illogical barrier to research; he said, "The nations of the world must see that the human genome belongs to the world’s people, as opposed to its nations." He left within weeks of the 1992 announcement that the NIH would be applying for patents on brain-specific cDNAs.Pollack, R.. 1994. Signs of Life: The Language and Meanings of DNA. Houghton Mifflin Company, p. 95. ISBN 0-395-73530-0. (The issue of the patentability of genes has since been resolved in the US by the US Supreme Court; see Association for Molecular Pathology v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)
In 1994, Watson became President of CSHL. Francis Collins took over the role as Director of the Human Genome Project.
In 2007, James Watson became the second person NYT, June 1, 2007. to publish his fully sequenced genome online, after it was presented to him on May 31, 2007 by 454 Life Sciences Corporation in collaboration with scientists at the Human Genome Sequencing Center, Baylor College of Medicine. Watson was quoted as saying, "I am putting my genome sequence on line to encourage the development of an era of personalized medicine, in which information contained in our genomes can be used to identify and prevent disease and to create individualized medical therapies".Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, June 28, 2003. . Press release. Retrieved on September 16, 2007.[ftp://ftp.ncbi.nih.gov/pub/TraceDB/Personal_Genomics/ Watson’s personal DNA sequence archive at the National Institutes of Health]
Awards and decorations
Accessed November 6, 2010