Last summer Huntington Willard, an associate professor of medical genetics at the University of Toronto, surprised a news conference at the 16th International Congress on Genetics by announcing that he was leaving Canada to join the Department of Genetics and the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine headed by Paul Berg at Stanford University. He gave as his reason a lack of resources for basic research at his university and in Canada generally, and the low priority assigned to it. He noted that the reason for his departure was not just a matter of money, saying: “I have all the grant money I could ever want.” As the founder of the Medical Genetics Department of which he was a member, I was asked by the press for a reaction, and I gave it frankly. I told The Globe and Mail in Toronto that it was very depressing and that...

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