International Chromosome and Genome Society

About us

Origins and Development of the Society

The society was founded by the late Harold Klinger with the assistance of Michael Schmid in 2002. Harold Klinger was the founder and chief editor of the journal Cytogenetics (later Cytogenetics and Genome Research) for more than 40 years up until his unexpected and sudden death in late 2004. During that 40 year period, the journal experienced many changes with the advent of new methods of chromosome investigation, notably those involving gene mapping and identifying the chromosome location of defined genes with somatic cell hybridization and FISH arguably being the most important. The initiation of the Human Gene Mapping Workshops in 1973 opened an new era for cytogenetic investigation and the journal was the major publication vehicle for gene mapping results. The gene mapping workshops, which were the forerunners of the Human Genome Project, provided the basic mapping scaffold used to physically map and subsequently sequence the entire human genome. The lessons learnt from the Human Genome Program were rapidly applied to other organisms, so that by the year 2000 whole genome initiatives were being carried out on more than 15 higher organisms with karyotypic evolution and diversity studies being a direct spin-off.


In 2002 the title of the journal was changed to reflect this integration of traditional cytogenetic analysis with genome analysis to Cytogenetics and Genome Research. Not unexpectedly, Harold Klinger choose the title 'The International Cytogenetics and Genome Society' for the name of the society on its launching in 2002. Prior to the start of the society, Harold Klinger had canvassed many workers in the field to seek their opinions on the needs and purpose of such a society. Most of those aims are reflected under the Mission link. The society was originally registered in Basel, Switzerland in 2003 with banking support being provided via the banking facilities of the publisher Karger of the journal CGR. However, Harold's death at a crucial moment in the affairs of the society led to the delay of many aspects in the early development of the society. So for example, it was not until June 2005 that the first official meeting of the society took place in Granada, Spain, where elections were held to appoint a new board for the society, with Peter Pearson, Sao Paulo, being appointed as President, Michael Schmid, Wuerzburg as Vice-President, Darren Griffin, Canterbury, UK, as General Secretary and Bhanu Chowdhary, College Station, Texas as treasurer. The current composition of the board can be found under the link Board. A further conference and general meeting was organized in June 2006 in Canterbury, UK. One of the main discussion points brought up at the Canterbury meeting was that the members were critical of the close contact between the publisher Karger and the society and felt that the society should keep its options open with regards to publisher contacts. In this spirit the new board has negotiated online access as part of the membership fee to the Springer journals Chromosoma and Chromosome Research. Access is provided via this web site. In addition the name of the society has been changed to "The International Chromosome and Genome Society" to eliminate any further confusion with the title of the Karger journal. The society has was re-registered in the Netherlands using ABN-AMRO bank for its banking facilities, but, since 2011 largely closed down its account due to lack of funds, concentrating solely on making sure that the International Chromosome Conferences find a home every two years.


From the outset, one of the important developments within the society stems from a reluctance expressed by several members to increase the number of international conferences and congresses. One of the alternatives discussed was to take over an already existing international meeting and to use this as the main venue for the ICGS. Given that the president, vice-president and general secretary of the ICGS have themselves been past organizers of International Chromosome Conferences, it appeared a good idea to bring the International Chromosome Conference (ICC) under the umbrella of the ICGS. A strategic plan was formulated under which the ICGS would gradually become involved in the organization of future ICCs. At the ICC was in Amsterdam in August 2007 and the society organized a small symposium at that ICC and where its business meeting was held. Thereafter from Boone 2009, the schedule of ICCs was set to once every two years, and re-establishing the biennial tempo initiated by Darlington for the Oxford Chromosomes Conferences, which were the fore-runners of the ICCs. This biennial schedule permitted the ICGS to hold a member's business meeting once every two years.

In ICC in Manchester 2011 a new board was elected with Darren Griffin (University of Kent) chairman and Dean Jackson (University of Manchester) Vice Chairman. This combination has now successfully managed 5 conferences (Manchester, Bologna, Brazil and, in 2018 Prague, with the 50th anniversary meeting held in Canterbury in 2014).

International Chromosome and Genome Society, University of Kent

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000

Last Updated: 30/04/2018