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Defense of History

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I thoroughly enjoyed musing with John Carroll. I feel he did an excellent job of reporting in the April 2002 issue of Genome Technology magazine, and my mom loved his article (“Black Belt of Bioautomation,” p. 60).

While I found Dr. Evans’ recollections in his letter that appeared in your June 2002 edition amusing (“Reinventing History,” p. 14), it appears to deviate substantially from reality. For clarification, allow me to quote some historical text written by Dr. Evans himself in the introductory overview of an NIH-funded proposal submitted around January 1993: “In October 1990, we were awarded a Large Scale Physical Mapping program project grant … resulting in the establishment of a genome research group at the Salk Institute”; “due to vastly expanded scope of the project, the development of highly collaborative interactions between the sponsoring Institutions, and other unique aspects of this project, we decided to apply for a new Center grant instead of a renewal of the original program project grant”; “In collaboration with Dr. Skip Garner, and with additional funds supplied by General Atomics Corporation, we have recently put major emphasis into automation and robotics approaches”; “While not a formal NIH Genome Center, we have nevertheless participated extensively in this effort”; “One concern among reviewers of this grant might be the necessity for the significant amounts of DNA sequencing proposed in this project.”

Dr. Evans’ enthusiasm, vision, and reputation convinced me in our initial 1991 meeting to join the national genome effort, immediately commit the resources of my group to develop automation and informatics technologies for genome mapping and sequencing, and eventually relocate to Dallas. This productive collaboration, for which I am thankful, is documented in a series of publications starting in 1992 and can be found in a Medline search for “Garner” or “Garner” and “Evans.”

Skip Garner,
“Ninja” (I must admit, I am but a student of the Martial Arts)
Professor of Biochemistry and Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

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