History of ASHG

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. Established in 1948 to lead research, education, and service in human genetics, its first activity was to publish The American Journal of Human Genetics, which today celebrates more than 70 years as a leading chronicle and facilitator of knowledge across the broad field. 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.

Since 1948, the human genetics community has grown, and we remain an interdisciplinary, welcoming community for all people interested in genetics and genomics investigation. As human genetics and genomics have grown, ASHG has helped create and nurture new organizations with specific interests. These now form part of the broad and valued ecosystem of mature societies and organizations serving genetics and genomics:

  • The National Society of Genetic Counselors was formed in 1979 as the professional society advancing the genetic counseling profession. The American Board of Genetic Counseling, independent certification board, followed in 1991.
  • Certification was recognized as crucial to clinical applications of genetics, and in 1981, ASHG helped found the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics.
  • In 1991, ASHG supported the creation of a sister society dedicated to clinical medical genetics – the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics.
  • To advance teaching of medical genetics and genomics, the Association of Professors of Medical/Human Genetics was incorporated in 1995.

Further Reading

Keats BJB and Hassold TJ. (2010 Nov). Recollections from 60 ASHG Meetings. The American Journal of Human Genetics 87(5):580-592.


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