Advances in molecular biology foster greater interdependency among physicians, researchers
The province of the scientist traditionally has been one of theory and experiment, exploration and discovery--contrasting sharply with the practical concerns of the physician. But times have changed.

Today, physicians find themselves in need of knowledge in such esoteric matters as the polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment-length polymorphism maps. Meanwhile, scientists are having to acquaint themselves with the world beyond the lab--talking, for instance, to the families who supply the DNA samples stored in their refrigerators, a task generally left up to clinicians. Increasingly, lines that traditionally separate the researcher and physician are blurring.

Crossover between the professions is still unusual, however; of 600,000 physicians in the United States, only 16,560 are involved in clinical research, according to the American Medical Association.

The M.D.-Ph.D. dual degree is one approach to bridging the gap (The Scientist, April 13, 1992, page...

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