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Genetics for Medical Students

James C. King, PhD
JAMA. 1974;228(13):1687. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230380055031.
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Medical Genetics: Principles and Practice, by James J. Nora and F. Clarke Fraser, 399 pp, 226 illus, $20, Lea & Febiger, 1974.

These two books illustrate two ways of presenting a subject to the student. Ford writes an extended essay explaining how the principles of genetics apply to medicine. Nora and Fraser describe the syndromes of genetic disease in a framework of principles. During the last 20 years, medicine, like most subjects, has been enormously engorged by the information explosion; genetics has been revolutionized by the development of molecular biology. Today, anyone writing of medical genetics must digest these two new corpora and assimilate them into the traditional discipline. In this respect, neither of these two works can be cited as entirely satisfactory.

Ford is best known for developing the concept of polymorphism and emphasizing its role in evolution. In the first edition of this book in 1942, he introduced


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