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After More Than 50 Years, a Dispute Over Down Syndrome Discovery

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Science  14 Feb 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6172, pp. 720-721
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6172.720

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Marthe Gautier, an 88-year-old French pediatric cardiologist, claims she hasn't received proper credit for her role in the discovery of the cause of Down syndrome in the late 1950s. Gautier says she was the first to notice that patients carried an extra chromosome in their cells. But her colleague Jérôme Lejeune was the first author on a paper about the discovery, which was prepared without Gautier's involvement. The conflict came to a head on 31 January in Bordeaux, when an award ceremony for Gautier was called off at the last minute after the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation sent two bailiffs to record Gautier's speech.