2003, following many months of consultations with colleagues inside and
outside of Africa, it became obvious that establishing an African
Society of Human Genetics would be a worthwhile endeavour. The
initial phase of the Human Genome Project has been completed with the
sequencing of the human genome. This will make available the
inventory of genes and regulatory sequences involved in human
development, physiology and disease (International Human Genome
Consortium 2001, Venter et al. 2001). Sequences of the genomes of
other species including Plasmodium falciparum and Anopheles gambiae that have a direct and devastating impact on human health in Africa have also been recently published (Gardner et al. 2002, Holt et al. 2002).
potential benefits of the ongoing Human Genome Project and similar
genomic research are enormous and may form the basis of many
breakthroughs in biomedical technology and healthcare.
Furthermore, the continent of Africa has a significant and alluring
attachment to the human genome and may hold the key to our
understanding of its current form and how it may change in the
future. This understanding may shed light on the best ways to
manipulate information about the human genome and other genomes for the
benefit of individuals and society. We would like African
scientists to make positive contributions to these developments and
believe that a society of hhuman genetics can provide the forum to
stimulate the interest of African scientists. Thus was born the idea of
an African Society of Human Genetics
is to build the capacity of African researchers and institutions and
create an infrastructure that can support and sustain that
capacity. AfSHG will endeavor to provide a platform on which the
wealth of information and research opportunities accruing from genomic
and genetics research could be discussed. AfSHG will also make
possible the exploration of modern research methods and suggest ways in
which these methods can be adapted to the special conditions in
Africa. We believe that this will address the widening gap
between Africa and the Western world in biomedical science and its
benefits and provide access to scientific power for developing relevant
resources in Africa.
Rotimi CN. Inauguration of the African Society of Human Genetics. Nat Genet.
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Sirugo G, Hennig BJ, Adeyemo AA, Matimba A, Newport MJ, Ibrahim ME, Ryckman KK, Tacconelli A, Mariani-Costantini R, Novelli G, Soodyall H, Rotimi CN, Ramesar RS, Tishkoff SA, Williams SM. Genetic studies of African populations: an overview on disease susceptibility and response to vaccines and therapeutics. Hum Genet. 2008 Jul;123(6):557-98. Epub 2008 May 30. Review. Erratum in: Hum Genet. 2008 Sep;124(2):195. PubMed PMID: 18512079.
Newport MJ, Rotimi CN. Reducing the global genomic inequity gap: development of an african genome project. Public Health Genomics. 2009;12(4):251-2. Epub 2009 Jan 30. PubMed PMID: 19182477.
Wonkam A, Muna W, Ramesar R, Rotimi CN, Newport MJ. Capacity-building in human genetics for developing countries: initiatives and perspectives in sub-Saharan Africa. Public Health Genomics. 2010;13(7-8):492-4. Epub 2010 Mar 23. PubMed PMID: 21135570.
Sirugo G, Williams SM, Royal CD, Newport MJ, Hennig BJ, Mariani-Costantini R, Buonaguro FM, Velez Edwards DR, Ibrahim M, Soodyall H, Wonkam A, Ramesar R, Rotimi CN. Report on the 6th African Society of Human Genetics (AfSHG) Meeting, March 12-15, 2009, Yaounde, Cameroon. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2010 Aug;83(2):226-9. PubMed PMID: 20682860; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2911163.