Intended for healthcare professionals


Apoptosis and racism: a long time coming and a long time going

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 23 June 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:0

Research in apoptosis—programmed cell death—“has become one of the hottest fields in medical research” (p 1536). This theme issue explores what apoptosis means and will mean for clinicians, but for me it evokes fond memories and reflections on the vagaries of time.

I worked on apoptosis in 1972–3 while doing a degree in pathology in Edinburgh. Two of the three authors of the 1972 paper that introduced apoptosis—Alastair Currie and Andrew Wyllie—had just come to Edinburgh from Aberdeen. Currie was the head of department, son of an Islay baker, and capo di …

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