Historians of contemporary biomedicine are well advised to listen when leading scientists and well-placed science administrators air their views on interesting trends in the field. When Francis Collins announced yesterday that he will step down as head of NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute, he also said that he is planning to write a book on the regulatory and scientific issues involved in personalized medicine. Because, in Collins’s view, this is “a fundamental shift in medical care”. An excellent topic for a research project in contemporary history — but a damned difficult one for an exhibition. 

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