The European Society of Human Genetics

is a non-profit organization. Its aims are to promote research in basic and applied human and medical genetics, to ensure high standards in clinical practice and to facilitate contacts between all persons who share these aims, particularly those working in Europe. The Society will encourage and seek to integrate research and its translation into clinical benefits and professional and public education in all areas of human genetics.



Press release: Geneticists welcome Kuwaiti decision to amend law on compulsory DNA collection

For immediate release: Wednesday 19 October 2016 Responding to the decision of the Emir of Kuwait to request the Kuwaiti Prime Minister to reconsider the scope of the law that would have imposed compulsory DNA testing on all residents as well as visitors to the country, Professor Olaf Horst Rieß, President of the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG), said:

“This is a wise and responsible decision. The law as originally proposed was disproportionate and likely to be ineffectual in tackling the problem of terrorism, and would have had negative consequences not just for Kuwaiti society, but also for medical science and research.”

More information


Response to the decision of the Kuwaiti Constitutional Court

Responding to the decision of the Kuwaiti Constitutional Court to accept a challenge to the law that imposes compulsory DNA testing on all residents as well as visitors to the country, Professor Olaf Horst Rieß, ESHG President, said:
“We are delighted that the Court has agreed to hear the case against this law, which we regard as a disproportionate and ineffectual response to the problem of terrorism. The collection of DNA from individuals on this scale would constitute an assault on their right to privacy, would not aid in the fight against terrorism, and could also lead to the isolation of Kuwaiti scientific research and researchers. We hope for a positive outcome from the hearing on 21 December.”


The Public and Professional Policy Committee (PPPC) of the ESHG and the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) have jointly prepared Recommendations and a Background Document on Human Germline Gene Editing. The Recommendations can be accessed by clicking on the link below. They will be presented at the ASHG meeting in Vancouver on Friday, October 21, 2016. A Background Document discussing the considerations behind these Recommendations will be online in the coming weeks as well. We invite the members of the European Society of Human Genetics to discuss and respond to these draft Recommendations and the Background Document before December 1st, 2016. Remarks and suggestions can be sent to professor Guido de Wert g.dewert(at) After this membership consultation the updated Recommendations will be sent to the Boards of ESHG and ESHRE for endorsement. We cordially thank you for your contribution to professional reflection on this important topic.

Download Draft Document

Kuwait is the first country in the world to have introduced a law calling for the compulsory DNA testing of all its citizens, and also of all visitors, whatever their reason for entering the country. The ESHG is seriously concerned with the impact of this law on the right to privacy of individuals, and fears the isolation of Kuwaiti scientific research and researchers.

Read the ESHG press release


ESHG 2016 - Thanks & on-demand webcast information

The organisers would like to thank the over 3,500 attendees, representing a record attendance at ESHG meetings, as well as over 150 exhibiting companies and institutions and their over 500 representatives and obviously all speakers and poster presenters for making this conference a memorable experience.

You can find the collection of recorded sessions as webcast in our archive.


See the press releases of the European Human Genetics Conference 2016, May 21-24, Barcelona Spain here.


The EuroGentest Committee of the ESHG has developed Guidelines for diagnostic next-generation sequencing published in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

More information


EMA - 2 Calls for collaboration

The European Medicines Agency is launching a consultation to implement the strategic priority of establishing a greater collaboration with Academia.
You are invited to participate to this process by answering a brief questionnaire that also provides space for comments and suggestions.
Please click on the following link to access the questionnaire:


The European Medicines Agency has released for public consultation on ICH guideline on genomic sampling and management of genomic data - Step 3.
The document open for consultation is available by clicking here.
Comments should be provided using this template. The completed comments form should be sent to ICH(at)


A number of ESHG courses have updates on their programme, namely the Spring Course in hereditary cancer genetics, the course Preconception, Preimplantation & Prenatal Testing and the course Basics in Human Genetic Diagnostics. Check them out here.

ESHG makes fellowships available for these courses.


For immediate release

The proposed Regulation on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices (IVDs) negotiations, currently at the stage of tripartite negotiations between the Council (representing Member State governments), the European Parliament, and the European Commission, still risks restricting the rights of patients and doctors to carry out essential genetic testing, says the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) today (19 October 2015) in a statement issued by a range of organisations representing geneticists and patients.

Read more


After an open consultation on the ethical issues surrounding health databases and biobanks by the World Medical Association (WMA) recently a two day meeting was organized. ESHG responded to the consultation.

More information


We wish to thank almost 2,700 participants and over 145 exhibiting companies and their staff for having attended the ESHG Conference in Glasgow.
We hope to see you in Barcelona in May 2016.

View the following sessions as web-cast:

- Opening Plenary Session - selected talks 
- ESHG-ASHG Building Bridges Symposium on "Genetic testing in children"
- Plenary Debate: "Should all geneticists have their genome sequenced?" 
- Mendel Lecture 
- ESHG Award Lecture

Access the streaming

Videos are now available as on-demand download.


We would be interested to know, if you have recently been thoroughly impressed by one or more speakers you have seen at a meeting (obviously outside the ESHG Annual meeting), both in terms of being an excellent speaker and of presenting excellent science.

We look very much forward to receiving your input at your earliest convenience, in order to discuss it at the next SPC meeting end of June, but we will keep the online form open over the whole year and are equally happy to receive a feedback whenever you experienced a great talk at a meeting.

Thank you very much!

Access the feedback form


ASHG and ESHG Issue Position Statement on Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening

Two of the world’s largest professional societies of human geneticists have issued a joint position statement on the promise and challenges of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), a new procedure to test blood drawn from pregnant mothers for Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders in the fetus. The document addresses the current scope of and likely future improvements in NIPT technology, ways it may best fit with existing prenatal screening tools and protocols, options and priorities in its implementation, and associated social and ethical issues.

More information


Sequencing technologies generate data on the entire sequence of the human genome for a decreasing price at increasing speed. This has increased the accessibility of using whole-genome sequencing and whole-exome sequencing approaches for analysis in both the research and clinical contexts.

The ESHG has issued recommendations.

More information


This leaflet gives patients information about genetic tests that target many different genes at once. The information may help you to decide whether or not to have the test and help you to understand the results.

Download leaftlet


Recent amendments to the proposed Regulation on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices (IVDs) currently before the European Parliament will restrict the rights of patients and doctors to carry out essential genetic testing, says the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) today (Monday 7 April 2014). Furthermore, an independent legal opinion now shows that the European Union (EU) has no competence to enact the Regulation as amended by the Parliament.

More information


In a letter published in the journal Science on 30 August, Professor Martina Cornel, chair of the Professional and Public Policy Committee of ESHG and colleagues call for restraint in the use of diagnostic testing based on whole-genome sequencing.
Read more



The decision by the US Supreme Court to rule that human genes cannot be patented has important implications for patients and for science.

Read more



Download the ESHG Position Statement on the Inclusion of an Article on Genetic Testing in the Proposed Regulation on in-vitro Diagnostic Devices.