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John Marius Opitz

Born 1935
Died

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German-American human geneticist, born 1935.

Biography of John Marius Opitz

John Marius Opitz is (2001) a physician and researcher of international stature, with a career spanning more than thirty years. He was born in Germany in 1935 and moved to the USA in 1950. He studied medicine at the University of Iowa and graduated in 1959. After training in paediatrics he obtained special experience in clinical genetics with the paediatrician and dysmorphologist David W. Smith (1926-1981) and cytogenetics with the human geneticist Klaus Patau, who was also born in Germany.

Opitz was one of the first physicians to recognize and correlate specific groupings of paediatric anomalies with heredity. In addition to his landmark work in hereditary kidney disease and endocrine factors in carbohydrate metabolism, Dr. Opitz was on the research team that produced the first successful immunologic assay of human growth hormone. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Medical Genetics since 1976, and was a founding member of the American Board of Medical Genetics. As Professor of Pediatrics and Human Genetics at Primary Children's Hospital and Adjunct Professor for the Division of Reproductive Genetics at the University of Utah, Opitz receives patient referrals from not only the Intermountain region, but from all around the world. He has undertaken extensive research in dysmorphology and has published extensively in this field.

Opitz is presently with the Primary Children's Medical Center Salt Lake City, concentrating on clinical genetics, especially those genetic factors influencing mental retardation, abnormalities of sex determination and sex differentiation, and skeletal dysplasias. Apart from his medical activities he is interested in natural history and the history of biology and music.

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