Peter Little on Jim Watson, Writer
  Peter Little     Biography    
Recorded: 30 May 2003

I think that some of his writing is very good. Some of it I don’t agree with. I mean he can infuriate me. I think he has a rather different view of genetics to my view. So I wouldn’t say some of the things he has said in his writing, but I’m not going to argue with that. I think that’s just interpretation. I think he attaches too much importance to genetic influences. I have a somewhat more distant view of that than he does.

Yes, I really believe that the genetics of things like intelligence or beauty, some of the things that he’s talked about, in altering our genetic destiny; I don’t think that’s technically possible. I think there’s too many genes involved and the technology is too hard. So practically I don’t think we can do some of the things that sometimes he implies we could.

Peter Little is a bioinformatics researcher, professor of medical biochemistry and the head of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He received his Ph.D. working with recombinant DNA under Ed Southern and Peter Walker at Edinburgh University. In 1976, Little cloned a human gene – the second time this was ever accomplished.

Little’s laboratory studies the genetic basis of gene expression, and genetic variation as it pertains to the regulatory regions of the genes. He has hypothesized that there are two types of genetic variation that alter gene expression. His lab has also created advanced techniques for testing genetically influenced transcript variations.

He comes to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory regularly for genome meetings and symposia.