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Apoptosis is one of the most widely studied fields in biology and accounts for over 2% of all life science publications annually. It plays a fundamental role in development, and defects in the regulation of apoptosis are directly implicated in numerous well-known diseases including cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, tissue atrophy and auto-immune diseases. However, the field of apoptosis has humble beginnings and was neglected by biologists for much of its history. This chapter reviews the history of research in apoptosis and highlights key experiments that have contributed significantly to our current understanding of apoptosis. In addition, the topics covered in later chapters are briefly introduced.
Curtin J.F, Cotter TG. Apoptosis: Historical perspectives. Essays Biochem. 2003;39:1-10. doi:10.1042/bse0390001