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Margaret W. Thompson was one of the true pioneers in the development of medical genetics as a discipline. Peggy, as she was known to all, was born on the Isle of Man in England but grew up on the Canadian prairies. With an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Saskatchewan, Peggy completed a PhD in 1948 at the University of Toronto with Norma Ford Walker, then famous for the Walker Index using hand and fingerprint analysis as an aid to the diagnosis of Down syndrome, many years before an extra chromosome was known to be the cause.
Following multiple short teaching positions at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Alberta, Peggy began her true calling in 1956 with her appointment as Director of the Genetic Counselling Service at University Hospital Edmonton, and 3 years later as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Genetics at the University of Alberta.
Peggy and her husband James (Jimmy) moved to the University of Toronto in 1963, with Peggy holding appointments in zoology and paediatrics at the University and as a geneticist at …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.