CAN medicine be reduced to molecular biology? Or, to paraphrase Calvin Coolidge, is the business of US medicine business? Or, could Francis Peabody,1 chief of medicine at Boston City Hospital in the 1920s, have been right when he insisted that an essential quality of the clinician "is interest in humanity, for the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient"?
The Human Genome Project2 has set the goal of cloning all the genes in the 46 human chromosomes. We are told by its proponents that, with a little bit of luck, in 5 or 10 or 20 years (the precise date depending on the bounty of Congress), molecular biologists will have deciphered the human genome. Then, we have been promised, the nature of man will be laid bare before us. Medicine will have become applied molecular genetics. The term evokes images of precision,
Eisenberg L. Medicine—Molecular, Monetary, or More Than Both?. JAMA. 1995;274(4):331-334. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530040059041