Thursday, July 24, 2008

Another missed Nobel

The newswires carried the story of Dr. Victor McKusick's passing today. McKusick was the first to catalog human mutations (as Mendelian Inheritance in Man, now better known as OMIM in its Online version), and can be truly seen as one of the founders of genomics. I won't claim to know his full biography, but compiling lists of human mutations way back when probably seemed like a bit of an odd task to a lot of his contemporaries.

This follows the sudden passing of Judah Folkman earlier this year in stealing from us a great light in biology, both of whom which the Nobel Committee failed to recognize.

Of course, there are only three Medicine awardees a year (sometimes the biologists sneak in on the Chemistry prize, but clearly McKusick & Folkman would have been in consideration for the Medicine prize). Nobel picking is a strange and unfathomable world. I'm not complaining about anyone unworthy getting it (though the Nobels have some serious closeted skeletons from the early days -- prefrontal lobotomies for all!), but it's too bad so many miss out who would deserve it.

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