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2008 National DNA Day Online Chatroom Transcript

This is just one question from an archive of the National DNA Day Moderated Chat held in April 2008. The NHGRI Director and many genomics experts from across NHGRI took questions from students, teachers and the general public on topics ranging from basic genomic research, to the genetic basis of disease, to ethical questions about genetic privacy.

How long did it take you to become a true experts in your field?
     William Gahl, M.D.: Studying rare inborn errors of metabolism through the observation and treatment of patients in the clinic and through biochemical, molecular biological, and cell biological investigations in the laboratory. His lab focuses on a number of disorders, including cystinosis, Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome, alkaptonuria, and sialic acid diseases. I was an expert in one disease by my late thirties, and an expert in several diseases by my late forties. In order to become such an expert, I had to see many patients with each of these disorders. The National Institutes of Health allowed me to do that. I am eternally grateful to the NIH and to my patients!
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)

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