Twenty-five years after the notorious Tuskegee study came to light, the United States government will formally apologize to its unwitting participants. The White House announced in early April that President Clinton soon would issue an apology to the 399 African American men whose syphilis was observed from 1932 to 1972 as part of an experiment by the U.S. Public Health Service. Despite the discovery in 1947 that penicillin cures syphilis, researchers neither treated the men nor told them they had the disease. The study is often cited as a primary reason for minority people's mistrust of science and scientists (T.W. Durso, The Scientist, Feb. 17, 1997, page 1), and observers feel an apology should help rebuild trust. "For the president to say that this has been an affront against part of the human race is really important qualitatively, because it makes a threshold after which nobody can...

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