The European Society
of Human Genetics



The ESHG was established on March 15, 1967 by a small group of outstanding European Geneticists  (European Journal of Human Genetics: 3, 63-64, 1995).  The decision which led to the founding of the ESHG was taken at an informal meeting of European participants at the IIIrd International Congress of Human Genetics in Chicago in September 1966. Membership was open; the first annual membership fee was $6.  The founding chairman was J. Mohr who was secretary-general of the society until 1991. Contact with the members was kept through a Bulletin.

The first symposium of the new society was held in Copenhagen on 18-19 November 1967. The invited lectures were on Genetic polymorphism in man, and there was a session for contributed papers.

In 1991 the Statutes were redrafted to give the society a new momentum and further modifications were added in 1996 when the society also became an International Association under Belgian Law. In the mean time the society grew from a few hundred to over 1000 members. In 1993 the society published its own Journal, The European Journal of Human Genetics, which moved from 4 to 6 to 8 issues per year and now appears  monthly.

In 1996 the ESHG together with the American  Society of Human Genetics  and the Human Genetics Society of Australasia  founded the International Federation of Human Genetic societies, which represents a growing number of national societies and which will organise its first International meeting in Vienna in 2001.

In 2020 the society was moved to Vienna and registered under Austrian Law. It currently has around 3,000 members.

The ESHG is in regular contact with different directorates of the EU commission and other scientific organisations. With the support of the ESHG, the European Alliance of Genetic support groups was founded in 1991 in Leuven.

The society has a partnership with some major diagnostic biotech companies to keep abreast of all the complex issues related to human genetics.


  Presidents of the ESHG Secretary General
1990-91 Christos Bartsocas, Greece  
1991-92 Giovanni Romeo, Italy  
92-93 Margareta Mikkelsen, Denmark Jean-Jacques Cassiman, Belgium
1993-94 Albert de la Chapelle, Finland Jean-Jacques Cassiman, Belgium
1994-95 Marcus Pembrey, United Kingdom Jean-Jacques Cassiman, Belgium
1995-96 Albert Schinzel, Switzerland Jean-Jacques Cassiman, Belgium
1996-97 Ségolène Aymé, France Jean-Jacques Cassiman, Belgium
1997-98 Malcolm Ferguson-Smith, United Kingdom Peter Farndon, United Kingdom
1998-99 Andrea Ballabio, Italy Peter Farndon, United Kingdom
1999-2000 Jean-Louis Mandel, France Peter Farndon, United Kingdom
2000-01 Gerd Utermann, Austria Peter Farndon, United Kingdom
2001-02 Stylianos Antonarakis, Switzerland Peter Farndon, United Kingdom
2002-03 Gert-Jan van Ommen, The Netherlands Peter Farndon, United Kingdom
2003-04 Veronica Van Heyningen, United Kingdom Helena Kääriäinen, Finland
2004-05 Leena Peltonen, Finland Helena Kääriäinen, Finland
2005-06 Andres Metspalu, Estonia Helena Kääriäinen, Finland
2006-07 John Burn, United Kingdom Helena Kääriäinen, Finland
2007-08 Pier Franco Pignatti, Italy Helena Kääriäinen, Finland
2008-09 Jean-Jacques Cassiman, Belgium Helena Kääriäinen, Finland
2009-10 Dian Donnai, United Kingdom Gunnar Houge, Norway
2010-11 Milan Macek Jr., Czech Republic Gunnar Houge, Norway
2011-12 Jörg Schmidtke, Germany Gunnar Houge, Norway
2012-13 Stanislas Lyonnet, France Gunnar Houge, Norway
2013-14 Han Brunner, The Netherlands Gunnar Houge, Norway
2014-15 Helena Kääriäinen, Finland Gunnar Houge, Norway
2015-16 Feliciano Ramos, Spain Karin Writzl, Slovenia
2016-17 Olaf Riess, Germany Karin Writzl, Slovenia
2017-18 Christine Patch, United Kingdom Karin Writzl, Slovenia
2018-19 Gunnar Houge, Norway Karin Writzl, Slovenia
2019-21 Alexandre Reymond, Switzerland Karin Writzl, Slovenia
2021-22 Maurizio Genuardi, Italy Karin Writzl, Slovenia
2022-23 Borut Peterlin, Slovenia Carla Oliveira, Portugal
2023-24 Valérie Cormier Daire, France Carla Oliveira, Portugal