DNA Conflict

Anne Sayre '43, author of "Rosalind Franklin and DNA," said Thursday that James D. Watson, former Cabot professor of Natural Sciences and a Nobel laureate for his experiments in elucidating the structure of DNA, committed "extensive robbery" of Franklin's experimental results in X-ray crystallography.

Watson yesterday refused comment. "I never want to respond to Anne Sayre in my life," he added.

According to Sayre, Watson took Franklin's experimental results and then in 1968, several years after Franklin's death, wrote "The Double Helix" which called upon "every known prejudice against intellectual women" to degrade Franklin and justify the theft.

Sayre said her book is an attempt to set the record straight and added that she is pleased that a number of biology textbooks have been revised in light of her book.

But Watson's book is still "on the reading list of almost every New York state high school," she added.


The talk was the first of a series of five lectures on women's issues sponsored by the Radcliffe Union of Students and the Radcliffe-Harvard Women's Center.