In the National Institutes of Health initial review group (IRG) on which I serve, we are now reviewing at each session a handful of proposals that seek to analyze the genetic basis of susceptibility to the infectious diseases that afflict great masses of the world's population. There is much excitement among my peers about these proposals, and by and large they have done reasonably well, in that they usually receive fundable priority scores. This trend in the Tropical Medicine and Parasitology study section is a microcosm of widespread excitement about quantitative trait analysis using microsatellite and other markers to determine the influence of genetic makeup on human health and disease.

On the one hand, these studies are at the forefront of biomedical science. Clearly, the biological and statistical technology exists to decipher in great detail and with reasonable confidence allelic constitution(s) at loci that might play a role in the...

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