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Laboratory medicine has evolved from basic scientific observation and good experimental practice, with a strong emphasis on establishing the mechanisms of disease processes, linked with biomarker discovery, and development of analytical technologies. That evolution is set to move on apace with the mapping of the human genome. However, laboratory medicine is not solely based on robust basic science, but also on the translation of that knowledge into establishing the clinical utility of a marker, translation into evidence of the impact on health outcomes, as well as transformational change to integrate this new knowledge into the delivery of better care for patients. This translational research and the focus on transformational change are crucial in demonstrating value-for-money in the laboratory medicine service.