Geneticist Kunkel shows how breakthroughs can be made without big budgets, big staffs, or big bullies

When it comes to tackling scientific problems of enormous difficulty, Louis M. Kunkel’s seven-member team at Boston’s Children’s Hospital proves that it isn’t always necessary to have a big staff or to have a big budget. And it’s not necessary to play rough, either.

For five years, Kunkel and his crew have been doggedly pursuing the genetic basis of muscular dystrophy. The disease has perhaps a half dozen forms and afflicts tens of thousands of people in the United States. So the urgency is obvious— and so is the possibility of major prizes, perhaps even the Nobel, for the scientists who succeed in decoding the mystery of its genesis. Consequently, there are at least six major teams worldwide, all struggling for the honor and rewards— psychic as well as financial—that would attend any critical...

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