Watson's interview with Britain's Sunday Times Magazine sparked an uproar after he was quoted as claiming that African workers were less able than white workers.
Watson, 79, apologized Thursday saying he was mortified at the way his comments had been interpreted, Britain's Telegraph reported Friday.
"To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief," Watson said at the Royal Society in London, The Times of London reported.
Watson, who won the Nobel prize for his part in discovering the structure of DNA, had reportedly said he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours -- whereas all the testing says not really."
A spokesman for the Sunday Times said the interview with Watson was recorded and the newspaper stood by its story as accurate.