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Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2014;15:1-26. doi: 10.1146/annurev-genom-090413-025505. Epub 2014 Jan 2.

DNA and other strands: the making of a human geneticist.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544; email:


This article--a mini-memoir--focuses on the first half of my half-century-long career as a human geneticist: its accidental beginnings; its early bad and then good fortunes at the National Institutes of Health; its serendipitous successes and career-making scientific productivity at Yale; and its incalculable fortuity in the form of the large number of talented and resourceful mentors, colleagues, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and technicians who worked with me. These years acted as a launchpad for positions of visibility and leadership that followed them. My personal odyssey, which began in Madison, Wisconsin, and meandered with no fixed plan to New York, Bethesda, New Haven, and Princeton, has offered me life views as a human and medical geneticist that are panoramic, splendid, and indelible. I doubt that many people have been as fortunate as I have been in the professional life I have lived--and continue to live.


Mendelian disorders; career odyssey; chance; clinical investigation; research in academia and government; serendipity

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