you are here:  

Some background to the genetics and medicine historical network

The network had its origins in early 2002, with the realisation that key information and documentation of the origins of human and medical genetics would soon be lost unless rapid action were taken.

Informal discussions at the European Society for Human Genetics conference in Strasbourg in May 2002 showed that this concern was shared by many in the field, and also that a surprising number of human geneticists had historical interests.

With this encouragement, and with some modest funding of expenses by Wellcome Trust, further discussions were held and the concept of the Genetics and Medicine Historical Network emerged. Award of a one year project grant from Wellcome Trust allowed work to proceed further, notably construction of this web site. This was followed by a project grant, which specifically supported the preservation of written records and development of the Human Genetics Historical Library. A series of recorded interviews with key older workers in the field was begun in 2003.

From the outset, the Network has been conceived as an international undertaking and resource, though primarily European based. This international approach reflects the close links of scientists and clinicians  in human genetics world-wide since the origins of modern genetics a little over 100 years ago.

Genetics and medicine historical network – landmarks

  • 2017 (May)  7th International Historical Workshop (Copenhagen and Lund) in conjunction with 50th anniversary meeting of ESHG.
  • 2016 (November)  Publication of paper on 100 recorded interviews series in Human Genetics
  • 2015 (June) 6th International Historical Workshop (Glasgow)
  • 2015 (March) GenMedHist website transferred from Cardiff University to European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG)
  • 2012 (June) 5th International Historical Workshop "The Biological Future of Man: Continuities and Breaks in the History of Human Genetics, Before and After 1945", Nuremberg
  • 2010 (June) International Historical Workshop on the early history of human molecular genetics, Gothenburg
  • 2009 Human Genetics historical Library passes 3,000 volumes
  • 2008 International Historical Workshop, Barcelona
  • 2007 (September) Human Genetics Historical Library moved to Cardiff University Special Collections (SCOLAR) and passes the 1,000 volume mark
  • 2006 (August) International Human Genetics Congress, Brisbane, Historical Session
  • 2006 (May) Wellcome Trust Project initiated
  • 2006 (May) ESHG Congress, Amsterdam, Historical Session
  • 2005 (May) Brno International Workshop
  • 2005 (December) 3 Year Grant from Wellcome Trust to support Network, record archiving, and Historical Library
  • 2005 (January) GENMEDHIST website redeveloped
  • 2004 (November) Further Wellcome Trust small grants for 2005 Brno Workshop and for support of Network
  • 2004 (October) ASHG historical session (Toronto)
  • 2004 (June) ESHG Historical Interest Group formed
  • 2004 (May) Human Genetics Historical Library founded
  • 2004 (April) Discussions in France (Paris) and Italy (Pavia) on preserving the history of human genetics in these countries
  • 2004 (April) Formation of BSHG Historical Interest Group
  • 2003 (December) Initiation of recorded interview programmes with distinguished retired geneticists
  • 2003 (September) Discussions in Helsinki to form Finnish Historical Group
  • 2003 (May) First International Workshop on Genetics, History and Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  • 2003 (April) Initial preliminary website
  • 2003 (January) First newsletter
  • 2002 (December) One year project grant from Wellcome Trust
  • 2002 (August) Initial expenses funding from Wellcome Trust
  • 2002 (May) Need for a Historical Network discussed at ESHG Conference, Strasbourg