Fifty years to the day from the discovery of the structure of DNA, one of its co-discoverers has caused a storm by suggesting that stupidity is a genetic disease that should be cured.

On 28 February 1953 biologists James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA – the chemical code for all life. The breakthrough revealed how genetic information is passed from one generation to the next and revolutionised biology and medicine.

But in a documentary series to be screened in the UK on Channel 4, Watson says that low intelligence is an inherited disorder and that molecular biologists have a duty to devise gene therapies or screening tests to tackle stupidity.