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James Watson Just Can't Stop Talking at GET

The GET conference is underway in Cambridge and James Watson, one of the "personal genome pioneers" at the meeting, is letting his thoughts be known during the discussions. At this time in his life, Watson says he wasn't worried about what he might have learned from getting his genome sequenced. "If I were 20 I wouldn't want to know because you just worry. At 80 I don't worry if I'm going to get cancer," Watson said. (He did, however, have his ApoE status redacted from his genome sequence.) To encourage more people to put their genomic profiles online, Watson suggested to "give them a pie or something." Then when asked about the ethics of making whole-genome sequences available, Watson responded: "You hear this ethical stuff, and it's just crap."

One of the fastest-growing players in the sequencing field is BGI, but Watson isn't worried about the competition. "Whether they'll produce anything we'll see. I'm not afraid of the Chinese. I still think we're better," he said. "They haven't developed any technologies, and technology is now leading the game."

Finally, in discussing how to advance scientific discovery, Watson said, "The limiting factor now is the intelligence of the scientist, not money."