Papers of Professor Rodney Harris, medical geneticist. The papers document Professor Harris' academic and professional interests in genetics from the 1950s to the 1990s, and are an important source for the history of medical genetics research, particularly in the North West of England. They also provide invaluable information on the research activities of the University of Manchester Medical School in the latter part of the twentieth century.
Section A, Manchester, consists of correspondence and papers covering various developments and initiatives in genetics involving Harris and his department at the University of Manchester. These activities were principally within the Manchester and N North West region but were often part of projects involving other centres. The material spans the period 1968 to 1995, the bulk of it dating to the 1970s and 1980s. Topics include: tissue typing and the development of renal transplantation, 1968-1972; the work of the Genetic Register Advisory Group (chaired by Harris), 1979-1989; the development of regional genetics services, 1973-1990; vitamin and neural tube defect studies, 1975-1985; and Special Medical Developments (‘SMDs’), 1983-1995. The SMD material is the largest group of papers in this section and relates to the University of Manchester’s collaboration with centres in Cardiff and London in the application of recombinant DNA technology. There are also some papers documenting meetings of the Study Group in Human Genetics at Manchester, 1958-1975, which was set up by Sir Robert Platt (professor of medicine) in 1958.
Section B, Committees and organisations, comprises papers concerning Harris’s wider professional commitments. Clinical Genetics Society material, 1969-1983, covers the founding and general business of the Society, its report to the Royal Commission on the National Health Service (1976-1977), and the Working Party on the Role and Training of Clinical Geneticists (1981-1983) which Harris chaired. There are papers documenting the activities of the Joint Committee for Higher Medical Training, 1979-1986, and its Specialist Advisory Committee on Paediatrics. Harris’s involvement in the Royal College of Physicians is also represented. This material, all from the 1980s, covers training for geneticists and cytogeneticists, the College’s assistance to the DHSS’s Joint Planning Committee, and the joint statement to the DHSS by the four medical Royal Colleges on the planning and organisation of genetic services.
Section C, Conferences and visits, reflects Harris’s international standing in human genetics and covers the period 1968-1975. Most of the papers relate to conferences, symposia and meetings abroad. Among those documented are the following: Third Symposium of the European Society of Human Genetics, Liverpool 1969; Fourth International Histocompatibility Conference, Copenhagen 1970; Fourth International Congress of Human Genetics, Paris 1971; lecture tour of South Africa, 1975; and the Fourteenth Congress of the International Society of Blood Transfusion, Helsinki 1975.