2019 Inauguration conference for Tanzania Society for Human Genetics
The Tanzania Society of Human Genetics (TSHG) was inaugurated on 28th November 2019 and will host the African society of Human Genetics (AfSHG) congress that will be held from 6th to 11th September 2020, Dar es salaam.
Announcing: 2019 Awardees
Genomic research in Africans celebrated by the ASHG 2019 Curt Stern Award to Charles Rotimi and Sarah Tishkoff.
Professor Muntaser Ibrahim released
Good news: Professor Muntaser Ibrahim has been released on 11 April 2019 and is in good health.
Professor Muntaser Ibrahim detained by the Sudanese government
Professor Muntaser Ibrahim, founding member of the AfSHG, was detained by the Sudanese government on 21 February 2019. The AfSHG, colleagues and friends are reaching out to raise awareness of his plight and to advocate for his release.
For more information see Science Article, Letter from the President of the society and PLOS Genetics editorial
Celebrating the life of Luca Cavalli-Sforza (25 January 1922 – 31 August 2018)
Luigi “Luca” Cavalli-Sforza died peacefully, at age 96, on August 31st in Belluno, Italy, surrounded by his family. His contributions to Science were those of a pioneer. In human genetics his trademark was that of a multidisciplinary, quantitative approach, elegantly interconnecting population genetics with a highly diverse set of disciplines, ranging from linguistics to archeology. He taught Genetics at the University of Parma and Pavia, Northern Italy, and from 1971 was Professor at Stanford University (California) until his retirement.
Cavalli-Sforza was born in Genoa, graduated in Medicine and Surgery in Pavia but switched to basic science very early on, to study the transmission of hereditary characters under the guidance of Adriano Buzzati-Traverso, the founding father of genetics research in Italy. At the end of the war he moved to Cambridge University where he became assistant of Sir Ronald Fisher, leading statistician of the twentieth century. After his highly successful time in Cambridge, Cavalli-Sforza returned to Italy. Teaching Genetics and Statistics, first in Pavia then in Parma, he started a very original research project: by performing blood testing as well as accessing local church records, he studied the frequency of consanguineous marriages, estimated inbreeding and addressed the relationship between consanguinity and random genetic drift. He demonstrated, for the first time, the importance of chance in the transmission of hereditary traits in the face of natural selection, until then considered the main driving factor in evolution.
In the early sixties, Cavalli-Sforza, for the first time, applied mathematical methods to the reconstruction of human evolution by using genetic data available globally, mainly blood groups and proteins, a quantitative approach not seen before; in collaboration with another pupil of Fisher, Anthony Edwards, he created the first genetic tree of humankind and with Sir Walter Bodmer founded a new discipline, “the genetics of human populations”. With his colleagues Alberto Piazza, from Turin, and Paolo Menozzi from Parma, he published in 1997 the landmark textbook “The History and Geography of Human Genes”, illustrating in detail (the best possible at the time) the genetic diversity and history of humankind. With linguists Joseph Greenberg, Merritt Ruhlen and Bill Wang he worked on the evolution of language, the backbone of human culture.
In the early 90s, along with several other colleagues, he conceived and led the “Human Genome Diversity Project” (HGDP) with the purpose of making global genetic data from about fifty aboriginal populations publicly available to the scientific community. In the early 2000s Luca and his Stanford research team reconstructed the genetic history of the Y chromosome, up to a virtual “Adam Y”, the ancestor of all males. His last contribution, published ten years ago, showed the continuous loss of genetic diversity from East Africa to the Pacific islands, thus confirming the common African ancestry of H. sapiens and a migration process from Africa paced by settlements and local founder effects.
Cavalli-Sforza was a Renaissance man, a great scholar, an independent thinker not afraid of heterodoxy, a giant on whose shoulders we are privileged to stand. He has died but his extraordinary intellectual legacy will live on.
Written by Giorgio Sirugo, largely based on text originally written in Italian by Francesco Cavalli-Sforza
AfSHG is deeply saddened by the passing of Bongani Mayosi (28 January 1967 – 27 July 2018)
We are deeply saddened by the unexpected and untimely death of our friend and colleague, Bongani Mayosi. His work and achievements have been an inspiration to our AfSHG membership and he was present to represent us at the launch of H3Africa, an initiative born from discussions within the Society. We mourn his passing and our thoughts go out to his family, his friends and colleagues, and all who knew him. He was a truly remarkable person and leaves a legacy of hope and encouragement for the advancement of biomedical science and genetics from Africa.
The launch of H3Africa June 2010. More
Leveraging Genomic Diversity to Promote Animal and Human Health
May 2018 – Submit an abstract and register today for Keystone Symposia’s upcoming conference on “Leveraging Genomic Diversity to Promote Animal and Human Health” scheduled for November 25-29, 2018 at Speke Resort & Conference Centre in Kampala, Uganda. The conference is part of the Keystone Symposia Global Health Series, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Upcoming 11th Conference of AfSHG
May 2018 – The next AfSHG conference will be taking place from 19 to 21 September 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. The theme of the conference is “Building Skills and Resources For Genomics, Epigenetics and Bioinformatics Research for Africa”. More
International Congress of Human Genetics
May 2018 – The International Congress of Human Genetics (ICHG2021) is planned for March 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa. The congress is organised on behalf of the International Federation of Human Genetics.
The first African-government-supported Human Genome Programme
December 2017 – The pilot study for the Southern African Human Genome Programme (SAHGP) was published in Nature Communications in December 2017. More