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Cyril Clarke, Journal of Medical Genetics, and the foundation of clinical genetics

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    Cyril Clarke became editor of Journal of Medical Genetics in 1969, five years after its inception, and he continued to edit it for the next 15 years. A glance at both the content and the editorial board members of the Journal in those early years shows the range and quality of its content and the calibre and diversity of those he enlisted in running it. Basic science and clinical expertise were well balanced, setting the pattern for the future. When I succeeded him as editor in 1985, it was indeed a hard act to follow.

    Cyril's great age (93 at his death) means that most people working in the field now will have little direct (or perhaps even indirect) knowledge of his key role in founding and shaping what is now the specialty of Medical Genetics. His natural shyness and reticence have added to this, and while his autobiographical notes, written at the age of 88 and published as “88 years of this and that”1 are a delight to read, they are typically unassuming and light hearted.

    Like most people of true genius, he was far ahead of …

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