The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) was established in 1948 to provide leadership in research, education and service in human genetics. Accordingly it elected to publish The American Journal of Human Genetics and sponsor an annual research meeting. The Journal has maintained a prominent role in the publishing world, with an impact factor of around 12. The Annual Meeting has grown to have an attendance of 6000 or more each year. The human genetics community grew and spawned a new field of endeavor, genetic counseling, to support delivery of clinical genetics services. In 1979, the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) was formed as the advocacy group for genetic counseling. By 1981, the need for the establishment of a certification board was recognized by ASHG and the American Board of Medical Genetics (ABMG) was founded. This Board certifies medical genetics practitioners, clinical laboratory geneticists throughout the United States. In 1991, this Board was recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify doctoral level medical genetics practitioners and clinical laboratory geneticists. Also in 1991, the Masters degree level genetic counselors then formed an independent certification board, known as the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC). The most recent addition to the family of human genetics organizations is the Association of Professors of Medical/Human Genetics (APHMG), which was incorporated in 1995.

With the burgeoning development of new and complex clinical genetic services and genetic testing which occurred in the 1980's, the need for the establishment of an independent body to represent the clinical practitioners of medical and laboratory genetics became evident. The American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) and the American College of Medical Genetics Foundation (ACMGF) were established and incorporated in 1991. In January 1993, the ACMG was accorded full membership in the Council of Medical Specialty Societies and is now the recognized body representing doctoral level laboratory and clinical practitioners of medical genetics in the United States.

ASHG is an active member of the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB), a coalition of 24 professional societies representing over 100,000 scientists. FASEB provides policy support/expertise and additional infrastructure for member societies. ASHG is also a member of the Council of Faculty and Academic Societies (CFAS) of AAMC, the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Translating Genomic-Based Research for Health, the Inter-Society Coordinating Committee for Practitioner Education in Genomics (NHGRI), and the International Federation of Human Genetics Societies (IFHGS).

 Read "Recollection from ASHG Meetings" published in AJHG, Nov 2010.

ASHG Presidents, 1949-2017

Names printed in green typeface are linked to their addresses given at the ASHG Annual Meeting

1949 H. J. Muller
1950 Laurence Snyder
1951 Lee R. Dice
1952 F. J. Kallmann
1953 Clarence Oliver
1954 James Neel
1955 C. Nash Herndon
1956 S. C. Reed
1957 Curt Stern
1958 W. D. Boyd
1959 Madge Macklin
1960 C. C. Li
1961 L. C. Dunn
1962 F. Clarke Fraser
1963 James F. Crow
1964 Arthur Steinberg
1965 Howard Newcombe
1966 Philip Levine
1967 Bentley Glass
1968 Irene Uchida
1969 Kurt Hirschhorn
1970 William Schull
1971 Alexander Bearn
1972 John Graham
1973 Eloise Giblett
1974 Victor McKusick
1975 John Hamerton
1976 Barton Childs
1977 Arno Motulsky
1978 Alfred Knudson
1979 Eldon Sutton
1980 Leon Rosenberg
1981 Barbara Bowman
1982 Margery W. Shaw
1983 John Littlefield