|Advances in molecular biology foster greater interdependency among physicians, researchers|
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...