The African Society of Human Genetics (AfSHG) was formed in 2003 to ensure that Africa is not left out of the genomic revolution. To meet this objective, the society has since then provided a forum for scientists to interact and exchange information in the field of genetics and genomics. This has been successfully achieved through earlier meetings held in Accra, Ghana - 2003, Washington DC - 2004, Johannesburg, south Africa -2005, Addis Abba, Ethiopia - 2006, Cairo, Egypt - 2007, Yaounde, Cameroon - 2009, Cape Town. South Africa - 2011 , Accra - 2013 and Dakar, Senegal - 2016. Scientists and physicians from over 21 African countries, several European countries, Asia, and the Americas attended these meetings. These meetings have Advanced the fundamental goals of the society including education, networking, capacity building, and research development. In addition, this Society through previous meetings has been instrumental in the development of the African Genome Project. The theme of the upcoming meeting will be Human genetics and genomics in Africa: Challenges for both rare and common genetic disorders. The current proposal is requesting funding for this meeting, one to be held in Rwanda in in 2018 and a third to be held in 2019 in an African host country to be determined. We recognize that as the genomic revolution develops it is important that equity in genetic research and translation into clinical practice needs to be seriously addressed. Previous meetings have dealt with some of these issues, and the results of these meetings have been incorporated into the global genomics enterprise to the extent that African studies, although still relatively rare, are gaining prominence in the genetics literature. The theme of the upcoming meeting has been chosen to specially incorporate several issues in modem genomics research, including the use of Next Generation Sequencing to detect all variants, the role of stem cell research in genetics research and the practical and ethical issues surrounding biobanking of samples in Africa. The Microbiome and Health , Human History and Population Genetics, Genomic Medicine, Networking/Resource Building and Developing Collaborations, and Bioethics and Benefit Sharing are themes that will be explored during the meeting. Invited speakers include Stylianos Antonarakis (Geneva), Raj Ramesar (Cape Town). Clement Adebomowo (Maryland), Moses Joloba (Uganda), Collen Masimirembwa (Harare, Zimbabwe). Chris Mathew (Johannesburg) and Charles Rotimi (NIH), several of whom have attended previous Meetings of the AfSHG. Finally, to better integrate the development of genetic research in Africa, the AfSHG meeting in Cairo will be held jointly with the National Society of Human Genetics of Egypt. This is a strategy that has been used successfully in previous meetings to engage existing African scientific organizations in genomics.
The African Society of Human Genetics is a relatively new, but highly successful society formed with the mission of disseminating information about human genetics research in Africa, providing advocacy for human genetic research in Africa, developing research infrastructure, and encouraging collaborative research. These missions have been promoted to a large extent through its meetings. The current proposal will support the 10th, 11th and 12th meetings of the Society, and is expected to be critical in developing ideas of how to translate genetic knowledge into clinical medicine on Africa.