In 1933 Margaret Lasker, a biochemist who worked at the labs of Montefiore Hospital in New York, developed an accurate method for the differentiation between pentosuria and diabetes. Research into pentosuria, and mostly its genetic aspects, became Lasker’s lifelong passion. Since research was not part of her job description, she conducted the chief part of her study in her home kitchen. Lasker’s extensive and personal correspondence with her patients and their families may be the secret key for her success in maintaining a prolonged research career against all odds. Laker’s last article was published in 1955 in Human Biology, presenting data on 72 cases of pentosuria, which occurs almost exclusively in Ashkenazi Jews. More than half a century later, and long after Lasker was gone, her well kept data and family records allowed the discovery of two mutations in the DCXR gene, by Mary-Claire King and her team.
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