Talk:Victor A. McKusick

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MI Poling (talk · contribs) has expanded the article beautifully. Just two points: (1) Some information seems to be on the basis of a personal interview. Unless this was published somewhere, it counts as original research, which is not suitable as a source on Wikipedia. (2) The comparisons with Osler are certainly correct, but not necessarily suitable for an encyclopedia article unless this comparison has been made by someone influential (e.g. the President honoring HUGO, or a Nobel Prize winner). JFW | T@lk 18:35, 26 April 2006 (UTC)


He discovered at least one form dwarfism: Cartilage Hair Hypoplasia (CHH) aka McKusick type metaphyseal chondroplasia. I believe he also discovered another, much, much more rare kind. Both of these occur disproportionately in the Amish, whom he has studied extensively (as evidenced by the studies listed on the page). -Njyoder

Verifiability of death[edit]

I can't find any sources for his death as was added by (talk · contribs) today. If true, a sad loss of a great man. JFW | T@lk 17:50, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Dr. Ed Miller, the Dean at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine sent an announcement to the faculty this morning that Victor had died yesterday...Indeed a great man has gone. (talk) 23:46, 23 July 2008 (UTC) Hugh Rienhoff

Reference to Baltimore Sun article added. No doubt many more to come... Scray (talk) 03:34, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
New York Times obit added. R.I.P. (thanks for your letter). Pustelnik (talk) 15:35, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Importance of medical genetics[edit]

According to recent reports genes are poor at predicting diease. This does suggest the question of what is the importance of the narrow field of medical genetics to the health of the general population. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:38, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

The impact of medical genetics is not limited to the nascent field of predicting disease based genetics. In any event, such a discussion probably belongs on different page, i.e. Medical genetics. Do you have a specific suggestion or correction for the Victor A. McKusick article, which is the subject of this particular Talk page? --Scray (talk) 18:25, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

I think that the point might be that medical genetics does not have so much importance for the general patient or the family practioner. We may be making a collection of hen's teeth (rare things, even when they are all added together) into something more important than they are.

The official webpage for "Mendelian Inheritance in Man"(founded by Victor McKusick), does describe the work as; "this database was initiated in the early 1960s by Dr. Victor A. McKusick as a catalog of mendelian traits and disorders, entitled Mendelian Inheritance in Man (MIM)." The point being that a "catalog of mendelian traits and disorders" does not add up to an experiment. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:22, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I know this is an encyclopedia article, but should there not be some mention of his work with HeLa, both in contacting the family and in developing the line? That seems to me to be of real import to this article given the incredible importance of HeLa in science and medicine. For a family-oriented view of his involvement, see the Skloot book, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:57, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

HeLa and McKusick's treatment of the Lacks family I'm in complete agreement with the previous comment. The New york Times has an article: A Lasting Gift to Medicine That Wasn’t Really a Gift, By DENISE GRADY, Published: February 1, 2010 that mentions some seriously questionable treatment of the Lacks family. Quoting:

"Some of the Lackses later gave blood to Hopkins researchers, thinking they were being tested for cancer, when really the scientists wanted their genetic information to help determine whether HeLa cells were contaminating other cultures. When Ms. Lacks-Pullum asked a renowned geneticist at the hospital, Victor McKusick, about her mother’s illness and the use of her cells, he gave her an autographed copy of an impenetrable textbook he had edited, and, Ms. Skloot writes, “beneath his signature, he wrote a phone number for Deborah to use for making appointments to give more blood.”

I don't think his involvement should go unnoticed. He has received a lot of recognition for his work but I am doubtful he would want his own family treated as he treated the Lackses in the process of gaining that recognition. It is unclear from the article what McKusick's role in misleading the family was, but clearly he did not hold them in much esteem. Perhaps someone who knows more about this could write on this part of his career? (talk) 21:14, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

From this I don't think we have a clue in what esteem he might have held the family. Skloot notes that standards for clinical research have shifted dramatically over the years. McKusick is not notable because of work with HeLa cells; rather, he's notable for Mendelian Inheritance in Man and its descendent, OMIM. Any vilification would need to be strongly supported in secondary sources (not a monograph, whether in the NYT or a book). -- Scray (talk) 01:25, 9 August 2013 (UTC)


The biggest problem with this article is the lack of citations. Once the existing information is properly cited, the the article, and starting with the information regarding his medical career, should be added to and organized better. LRoskes (talk) 15:46, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

Article format[edit]

The citations/references in this article are a mess. There are way too many references listed for the minimal citations footnoted throughout the article. In-text citations (footnotes) can make the article more credible and also make it easier to find relevant external sources.

Also, there are numerous points when the article slips into an editorial format rather than encyclopedia format. The early life and medical career sections should be rewritten in order to make sure that the correct Wikipedia format is followed. At other points the article is very repetitive and sentences can be taken out to keep the article as succinct as possible. Jdeales1 (talk) 17:54, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

New potential bibliography[edit]

Victor McKusick reviews the progress of the genetic journal Mendelian Inheritance in Man. [1]

Victor McKusick's study of inheritance in the Amish. [2]

Press release from Johns Hopkins Medicine regarding Victor's death. [3]

National Institutes of Health profile. [4]

New York Times article regarding Victor's death. [5]

Jdeales1 (talk) 15:08, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Proposed revisions to article[edit]

New lead section

Victor Almon McKusick (October 21, 1921 – July 22, 2008), internist and medical geneticist, was University Professor of Medical Genetics and Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD, USA. He was a proponent of the mapping of the human genome because of its use for studying congenital diseases. He is well known for his studies of the Amish and of what he called "little people". He was the original author and, until his death, remained chief editor of Mendelian Inheritance in Man (MIM) and its online counterpart Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM), a database of heritable diseases and genes. He is widely regarded as the father of clinical medical genetics. McKusick also served as editor-in-chief of the journal Medicine.

As part of a course, we intend to refurbish this article by changing the lead section as shown above, and adding subsections to make the organization more clear. We also intend to add references and make sure that the whole article is properly cited

LRoskes (talk) 19:24, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

peer review[edit]

I would suggest making the death section a fourth sub section of personal life instead of a stand alone large section. Apatera517 (talk) 02:53, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

The "organizations" section is pretty short, perhaps you could put this information under the "career" section instead. Aflynn2 (talk) 02:55, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ McKusick, Victor (March 8, 2007). "Mendelian Inheritance in Man and Its Online Version, OMIM". Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  2. ^ McKusick, Victor (August 2003). "Medical Genetic Studies in the Amish: Historical Perspective". American Journal of Medical Genetics Part C 121C (1): 1–4. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Victor A. Mckusick, M.D., "Father Of Medical Genetics," 1921-2008". Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Victor A. McKusick Papers". Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Altman, Lawrence. "Victor McKusick, 86, Dies; Medical Genetics Pioneer". Retrieved 10 March 2015.