Call for Papers: Sixth International Workshop on the History of Human Genetics

Glasgow, UK (Scotland), June 5-6, 2015

Principal Themes: ‘Human Gene Mapping’ and ‘Oral History of Human Genetics’

We would like to invite proposals for the Sixth International Workshop on the History of Human Genetics which will take place in Glasgow, UK (Scotland), 5-6 June 2015. The topics for this workshop are ‘Human Gene Mapping’ and the ‘Oral History of Human Genetics’.

Proposals for presentations (250 words maximum) should be submitted via the ESHG homepage: www.eshg.org. The deadline for proposals is January 9, 2015.

The History of Human Gene Mapping

Gene mapping in Drosophila began over a century ago, but human gene mapping is more recent, beginning with the linkage between haemophilia and colour-blindness on the X chromosome by Bell and Haldane in 1937 and the first autosomal linkage by Jan Mohr in Copenhagen in 1951.

In 1973 the first Workshop on Human Gene Mapping took place at Yale University, organised by Francis Hugh Ruddle (1929-2013). He was inspired during his post-doctoral training in 1960 and 1961 by the work of Guido Pontecorvo (1907-1999) at Glasgow, who had demonstrated that genes could be mapped in somatic cells.

As a result of this and subsequent workshops around 2000 genes were assigned to specific chromosomal locations before the Human Genome Project was launched in 1989. The data were stored in a publicly available database allowing the sharing of human genome information.

How did it all begin? And what was the evolution from 1973 up to the start of the Human Genome Project? The focus of this workshop will be on the pioneering work involved in human gene mapping itself, but also on the biography of the involved scientists. Those associated with this work from different countries are invited to share their experiences and memories with the participants. Presentations on the historical, philosophical, social analysis of aspects of the scientific revolution of gene mapping are also welcome.

The Oral History of Human Genetics in Europe

Oral histories provide an invaluable source of information for those studying the history of human genetics. During this workshop there will be a discussion on carrying out interviews with contemporary witnesses and other aspects of the oral history of human genetics. Conducting an interview requires careful planning both before and after the interview itself. The process of the transcription of interviews as well as ethical and legal aspects of oral histories will also be topics for discussion.