In the beginning, there were no posters. Now, many scientific meetings have thousands of them. At the 50th meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) in Philadelphia, Oct. 4-7, scientists signed up for 2,147 posters, compared to 287 slide presentations.

Douglas Marchuk, associate professor in the department of genetics at Duke University, and this year's head of the ASHG program committee, describes the poster evolution this way: "In l977 and l978 they were all slide sessions. In l979 we went to posters, and it was a 50-50 mix, but by l982, it was 28 percent slides and 82 percent posters. This year it was 88 percent posters and 12 percent slide sessions."

He added that some people check off "poster only" when they submit their abstracts online, and they occasionally have to be persuaded to give a slide session instead. In other instances, there is a certain...

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