Historical Background

Indonesia has an enormous part in the development of human genetics. In 1956, Tjio and Levan demonstrated that humans have only 46 chromosomes and not 48 as previously believed. Tjio Joe Hien was born in Pekalongan, Indonesia and studied at the Faculty of Agriculture University of Indonesia, now Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) , before he moved to Sweden.

The introduction of human genetics as a science in Indonesia started in the scope of cooperation between the University of Indonesia (UI) and University of California (UC), when Dr. Gilbert Church became a visiting professor in Biological Sciences. He recruited some students, such as Partomo M Alibazah and later, Prof. Dr. MK Tadjudin. He developed the cytogenetics laboratory in University of Indonesia. Human genetics received more attention, when PGMI (Persatuan Genetika Manusia Indonesia) as the first human genetics association in Indonesia was established in 1976 in Yogyakarta. It was initiated by Prof. Soemiati Ahmad Muhammad, Prof. dr. MK Tadjudin, Prof.Dr. Sulaksono, Dr. Wildan Yatim and Prof Sentot M. Soeatmadji from five universities respectively (Gajah Mada University, University of Indonesia, Institute of Technology Bandung, Padjadjaran University and Airlangga University). The latest leader was Prof. Dr. dr. MK Tadjudin and Prof. Dr.  Wahyuning Ramelan, Andrologist  as secretary.

In recent times, Indonesia also keeps track of international progress of human genetics. Indonesia is an active member of Asia Pacific Society of Human Genetics (APSHG), where Prof. Dr. Sangkot Marzuki was one of the pioneers, along with Prof. Dr. Herawati Sudoyo. The latest APSHG conference in Hanoi was attended and represented by members such as Dr. Damayanti Sjarif from University of Indonesia/ Dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital Jakarta, and Prof. Dr. Sultana MH Faradz from Diponegoro University.

Academically, since 2001 the Center for Biomedical Research (CEBIOR) Faculty of Medicine Diponegoro University headed by Prof. Sultana MH Faradz in collaboration with RUNMC, Nijmegen the Netherlands organizes the Medical Genetic Course (MGC), an annual short course in genetic field from basic to clinic. Many young doctors and researchers have participated in the course. In 2007 has been established the MSc program on Genetic counseling with 90 students registered so far. This Master Program is the first one built in Asia and Indonesia, therefore it is crucial to collaborate with more advanced centers in overseas to maintain the quality of Master of Genetic Counseling.

Following the start of the course and MSc program, the enthusiasm and interest has increased year by year. Many Indonesian scientists are harboring their interests on human genetics, and have taken human genetics training, post-graduate, even doctoral programs from domestic and overseas centers. Therefore, it is an encouraging reason and a right time to re-establish Perhimpunan Genetika Manusia Indonesia (PaGMI)/Indonesian Society of Human Genetics (INASHG), formerly named PGMI, which will provide a scientific platform and accommodate professionals and people who are interested in human genetics in Indonesia.