Page 7 - ASHG 2012 Annual Meeting Program Guide

Dear Fellow Members of ASHG,
Welcome to our 2012 Annual Meeting. The theme for our meeting this year is
The Scientist as a Citizen of the World.” This theme was selected for two reasons.
First, this year has been an extraordinarily productive one for human genetics research
based in populations from all parts of the world. Human genetics is inherently a science
without borders. Now, economic constraints notwithstanding, we have reached a
moment in which the scientific work of our field is carried out in very large part by
geneticists from the places of origin of populations being studied. Some of this work
is internationally collaborative, and the projects are true, not token, joint efforts.
Our field owes this rapid democratization in part to the virtually overnight dissemination
of next generation sequencing technology, and in part to the cleverness of human
geneticists worldwide who exploit this technology by inventively integrating local,
regional, and international capacities. A little outsourcing goes a long way in the right
hands. Results of international collaborations are integrated into every session of
this ASHG meeting. I point out this feature of our meeting explicitly, because we take
international collaboration so much for granted that we might not notice it otherwise.
We are fortunate in this. It is not the way of the world as a whole.
Second, what happens this week in the U.S. will have enormous consequences for us all.
As human geneticists, we are in the privileged position of having far more awareness of
the world than most of our fellow citizens (wherever we are originally from), and therefore
the responsibility to try to help the next years be ones of progress for our communities.
Collectively, we are many (more than 8000), with considerable intellectual influence,
if not explicit political power, in our communities. We enjoy more autonomy than most in
exercising that influence, in part because we have each other. ASHG is both our home
for productive science and for forming friendships that transcend borders. Collaboration
bridges conflict for far more people than those engaged in the science itself.
So welcome to the 62nd ASHG Annual Meeting. Enjoy a lovely week in this beautiful city,
greet old friends, make new friends, arrange a post-doc or a sabbatical year in a place not
previously your own, and think of fine projects together. It is a great pleasure to see you here.
With all best wishes,
Mary-Claire King
President, ASHG