Clinical Molecular Genetics in the UK c.1975–c.2000
Wellcome Witnesses to Contemporary Medicine;Volume 48
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Chaired by Professor Martin Bobrow and introduced by Professor Bob Williamson, this Witness Seminar included geneticists from a broad range of research and clinical specialities. Discussions of molecular research into haemoglobin disorders, and the development of probes for related genes in the 1970s, included particular acknowledgment of Southern blotting as a critical tool for such research. Also noted was a landmark conference in Crete in 1978 that emphasized the special significance of research work on thalassaemia, as well as providing fruitful networking opportunities for scientists from around the world. Similarly, in 1982, a key course at Leiden University introduced molecular techniques to geneticists from across Europe. In that same year the first prenatal diagnosis by chorionic villus sampling was published, and the emotional aspects of such genetic diagnoses for patients, families and clinicians were frequently discussed during the seminar. Other issues, including the funding of research, and especially the role of patient support groups; the establishment and growth of professional interest groups and bodies such as the Clinical Molecular Genetics Society; and the development of national genetics.