ASHG History

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) is the world’s largest professional community driving the field of human genetics and genomics research and translation, with decades of leadership supporting new discovery and applications. The Society was established in 1948 to lead research, education, and service in human genetics. The ASHG meeting, first held in 1948, has grown to become the world’s largest annual meeting in human genetics and genomics with attendance of 8,000 or more each year. Soon after, the Society published the first edition of The American Journal of Human Genetics, which launched in 1949.

Over time, the Society has grown, integrated new communities and specialties within human genetics.  As knowledge of human genetics has increased and new applications have developed, ASHG spurred the creation of new organizations and societies serving genetics and genomics. Today, the human genetics and genomics community spans scientific and clinical disciplines, reaches worldwide, and engages public and private sectors.

As part of its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, ASHG has looked back on its history to document, reckon with, and apologize for harms and ways that human genetics research has contributed to racism and other systemic forms of discrimination. The Facing our History – Building an Equitable Future Initiative has included a major report documenting examples of past injustice and pivots toward justice, as well as a statement and report by the Board of Directors.


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