The Young Geneticists Network and the ESHG-Young committee, an international community looking to the future

This idea was born when a few enthusiastic YGs, sharing the same needs and aspirations, met during conferences, courses and internships abroad. The Facebook® group, created in February 2018, is open to all students and young professionals under the age of 36 (or in training) interested in Human Genetics [4]. The goal is to allow members to share information and ask questions related to human genetics (as it relates to patient safety and ethics) in a friendly and supportive atmosphere, all at their fingertips. Two not-for-profit structures have played a key role in the development of the YGN: the European Reference Network for Intellectual Disability, Telehealth, Autism and Birth Defects (ERN-ITHACA), a virtual network involving providers of healthcare across Europe to improve diagnosis and patient care [5], and the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) [6]. Their support was essential in promoting this group at European meetings (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: First steps and achievements of YGN and ESHG-Young.

A Chronology of the different stages that led to the creation of the YGN and the ESHG-Young. From 2017, the project to develop an international community of young geneticists was presented at various ERN-ITHACA and ESHG meetings. Then, it became a Facebook® group in 2018 and an official committee within the ESHG in 2019. From 2020, the ESHG-Y got involved in the animation of sessions (workshops and educational sessions) at ESHG conferences. B Screenshot of the ESHG-Y educational session at the 2021 ESHG conference titled “Human Organoids as Models of Genetic Diseases”. VS Elected members of the ESHG-Y committee since 2019. Abbreviations: ERN-ITHACA European Reference Network for Intellectual Disability, Telehealth, Autism and Congenital Anomalies; YGN Young Geneticists Network; ESHG European Society of Human Genetics; ESHG-Y European Society of Human Genetics-Young.

From a small initial group, the community has grown into a dynamic network of 1377 members from 101 different countries and 42% (not= 583) of them belong to 24 member states of the European Union in July 2021 (Fig. 2). Among the members of the YGN are geneticists with scientific and/or medical training and genetic counsellors.

Fig. 2: Worldwide distribution of YGN members.
Figure 2

A World map of YGN members. The network brings together 1377 members from 101 countries or regions as of July 2021. B Number of YGN members by country or region. Note that 42% (not= 583) YGN members belong to 24 European Union member states, marked in italics and shaded in light grey.

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