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It was a sad finale to a brilliant career. James Watson, whose reputation for saying shocking things was second only to his reputation as a Nobel Prize winner, retired late last year from his position as chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory after making a series of inflammatory comments about black people being genetically inferior. Watson’s ongoing book tour was abruptly canceled, and Cold Spring Harbor’s board of trustees suspended him for the remarks. Days later, Watson announced his retirement from the institution where he had worked for more than 40 years.

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