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History, Purposes and Membership – Dr. Victor A. McKusick, 1989, Genomics

The Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) was conceived in later April 1988, at the first meeting on genome mapping and sequencing at Cold Spring Harbor. For some time, as the genome initiatives got under way in individual nations, the need for an international coordinating scientific body has been under discussion.

At a rump session called to discuss the proposal at Cold Spring Harbor on April 30, 1988, Victor McKusick (Baltimore) was asked to serve as founding president. A Founding Council was assembled from among those at the Cold Spring Harbor meeting, supplemented by others, to a total of 42 scientists from 17 countries. In early September 1988, 31 of these scientists met in Montreux, Switzerland, at a hotel within sight of the historic Chateau de Chillion. The members of the Founding Council are indicated by an asterisk in the list of HUGO members at the end. The officers elected at Montreux were as follows: Victor A. McKusick, President; Walter Bodmer, Jean Dausset, and Kenichi Matsubara, Vice Presidents; John Tooze, Secretary; Walter Gilbert, Treasurer (resigned February 15, 1989); and Charles Cantor, Malcolm Ferguson-Smith, Leroy Hood, Lennart Philipson, and Frank Ruddle, Eletced Members to Executive Committee.

About HUGO

Truly International

HUGO was incorporated in Geneva, Switzerland. As stated in its Articles of Association, “membership of HUGO shall be open to all persons concerned with the human genome or other scientific subjects related to it”. It was decided in Montreux to follow an academy model, i.e. to have a limited and elected membership. In elections conducted by mail during the 5 months after Montreux, 178 additional members of HUGO were chosen, bringing the total to 220. The members were drawn from 23 countries; namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, East Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Israel, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, USA, USSR and West Germany.

In the words of Norton Zinder, a member of the Founding Council, HUGO is a “U.N. for the human genome”. Its purposes were as follows:

  • to assist with the coordination of research on the human genome and in particular to foster collaboration between scientists with a view to avoiding unnecessary competition or duplication of effort, and to coordinate this research with parallel studies in model organisms;
  • to coordinate and to facilitate the exchange data and biomaterials relevant to human genome research and through a training program, encourage the spreading of related technologies;
    to encourage public debate and provide information and advice on the scientific, ethical, social, legal, and commercial implications of human genome projects.

The coordinating functions of HUGO have three dimensions: international, interdisciplinary, and interspecies. The coordination among nations has its counterparts in the coordination desirable among scientists working on genetic mapping and those working on physical mapping and sequencing and among scientists working on the genomes of various model organisms. Thus far, standing committees on physical mapping, databases, and the mouse genome have been set up. By mutual agreement of the executive committees of HUGO and the Human Gene Mapping Workshops (HGMW) is to become a component of HUGO.
For the conduct of business of HUGO, three regional offices are being established. The Headquarters office is located in Farmington, Connecticut; the European office in London, UK.

*Genomics 5, 385-387 (1989), reproduced by permission of the author.

About HUGO

HUGO Membership (as of early 1989)

Those in bold and marked with a * are members of the founding council.

  • Bruce M. Alberts, USA
  • Richard Gelinas, USA
  • Peter L. Pearson*, The Netherlands
  • Philip Avner, France
  • Walter Goad, USA 
  • Elizabeth B. Robson*, UK 
  • Bart G. Barrell, UK
  • Francois Gros, France
  • Leon E. Rosenburg, USA 
  • Kare Berg, Norway
  • John L. Hamerton, Canada 
  • Joseph Sambrook, USA 
  • Walter Bodmer*, UK
  • Tasuku Honjo*, Japan
  • Peter Seeburg, West Germany
  • David Botstein, USA 
  • Michael Hunkapiller, USA
  • Louis Siminovitch, Canada
  • William R.A. Brown, UK 
  • Nancy A. Jenkins*, USA 
  • Mark H. Skolnick, USA
  • George F. Cahill, Jr.*, USA 
  • Y.W. Kan, USA
  • Ellen SOlomon, UK 
  • Mario Capecchi, USA 
  • Lev L. Kisselev, USSA
  • Grant R. Sutherland*, Australia 
  • Webster K. Cavenee*, Canada 
  • Louis M. Kunkel, USA 
  • Glauco Tocchine-Valentine*, Italy 
  • George Church, USA 
  • Mark Lathrop, France
  • Christoper Tyler-Smith, UK 
  • P. Michael Conneally, USA 
  • Leonard S. Lerman, USA 
  • Marvin van Dilla, USA 
  • David R. Cox, USA 
  • Jean-Louis Mandel, France
  • Dorothy Warburtin, USA 
  • Kay E. Davies, UK 
  • Phyllis J. McAlpine, Canada 
  • Robert A. Weinberg, USA 
  • Albert de la Chapelle, Finland 
  • Andrei D. Mirzabekov*, USSR
  • Raymond L. Whoite, USA 
  • John H. Edwards, UK 
  • Daniel Nathans, USA 
  • Allan C. Wilson, USA 
  • Malcolm A. Ferguson-Smith*, UK 
  • Stephen J. O'Brien, USA 
  • Mitsuaki Yoshida, Japan 
  • Theodore Friedmann, USA 
  • Jurg Ott, USA 
  • Tobias Gedde-Dahl, Jr., Norway 
  • Walter Gehring, Switzerland
  • Mark L. Pearson, USA
  • Michael Ashburner, UK
  • Walter Gilbert*, USA
  • Richard Roberts, USA 
  • David Baltimore, USA
  • Yoram Groner, Israel
  • Hans-Hilger Ropers, The Netherlands 
  • Paul Berg, USA 
  • James F. Guselle, USA 
  • Yoshiyuki Sakaki, Japan 
  • Frecerick R. Blattner, USA 
  • Bernard Hirt*, Switzerland
  • Charles R. Scriver, Canada 
  • Dirk Bootsma, The Netherlands 
  • Peter Humphries, Ireland
  • Thomas B. Shows*, USA
  • Michael S. Brown, USA 
  • Alec J. Jeffreys, UK 
  • Robert L. Sinsheimer, USA
  • Gail A.P. Bruns, USA
  • ZFotis C. Kafatos*, Greece 
  • Oliver Smithies, USA 
  • Charles R. Cantor*, USA 
  • Kenneth R. Kidd, USA 
  • John Silston, UK 
  • Luca Cavalli-Sforza, USA 
  • Raju S. Kucherlapati, USA 
  • Shirley Tilghman, USA 
  • Verne M. Chapman, USA 
  • Eric Lander, USA 
  • Lap-Chee Tsui, Canada 
  • John Collins, West Germany 
  • Hans Lehrach, UK 
  • Alex van der Eb, The Netherlands 
  • Charles Coutelle, East Germany 
  • Jacob V. Maizel, USA 
  • Douglas C. Wallace, USA
  • Jean Dausset*, France 
  • Allan M. Maxam, USA 
  • David Weatherall*, UK 
  • Larry L. Deaven, USA 
  • O.J. Miller, USA 
  • Charles Weissmann, Switzerland 
  • Renato Dulbecco*, USA 
  • Robert Moyzis, USA 
  • Robert T. Williamson, UK 
  • Marc Fellous, France 
  • Robert L. Nussbaum, USA 
  • Ronald G. Worton*, Canada 
  • Jean Frezal*, France 
  • Stuart H. Orkin, USA 
  • Harald zur Hausen*, West Germany 
  • Mary Lou Pardue, USA 
  • David Patterson, USA
  • Norman Arnheim, USA
  • Raymond F. Gesteland, USA
  • Lennart Philipson*, West Germany 
  • Francisci J. Ayala, USA
  • Peter N. Goodfellow, UK
  • Giovanni Romeo, Italy
  • Arthur L. Beaudet, USA 
  • Karl-Heinz Grzeschik*, West Germany 
  • Frank H. Ruddle*, USA 
  • Adrian Bird, Austria 
  • Michael Hayden, Canada 
  • David Schlessinger, USA 
  • Piet Boorst*, The Netherlands
  • David E. Housman, USA
  • Nobuyoshi Shimizu*, Japan
  • Roy J. Britten, USA
  • Francois Jacob*, France 
  • Marcello Siniscalco, USA 
  • George Brownlee, UK 
  • Bertrand Jordan, France
  • Cedric A.B. Smith, UK
  • Howard M. Cann, France 
  • Haig H. Kazazian, Jr., USA
  • Michel Steinmetz, Switzerland 
  • Bruce Cattanach, UK 
  • Yuji Kohara, UK 
  • Glenys Thomson, USA 
  • Pierre Chambon*, France
  • Jean-Marc Lalouel, USA 
  • John Tooze*, West Germany 
  • Francis S. Collins*, USA
  • Philip Leder, USA 
  • Herman van den Berghe, Belgium 
  • Andrew Coulson, UK 
  • Mary Lyon*, UK 
  • Akiyoshi Wada, Japan 
  • Ian Craig, UK
  • Kenichi Matsubara*, Japan 
  • James D. Watson*, USA 
  • Muriel Davisson, USA 
  • P. Meera Kahn, The Netherlands 
  • Sherman M. Weissman, USA 
  • Ford Doolittle, USA 
  • Newton Morton, UK 
  • Huntington F. Willard, Canada 
  • H. John Evans, UK 
  • S. Numan, Japan 
  • Savios L.C. Woo, USA 
  • Uta Francke, USA 
  • Maynard Olson, USA 
  • Norton D. Zinder*, USA 
  • Antonio Garcia-Bellido, Spain 
  • Stylianos E. Antonarakis, Switzerland
  • Georgy P. Georgiev, USSR 
  • Ulf Pettersson*, Sweden
  • Richard Axel, USA
  • Joseph L. Goldstein, USA 
  • Thomas H. Roderick, USA 
  • Alexander A. Bayev, USSR 
  • Frank Groveld, UK 
  • Janet D. Rowley, USA
  • Georgio Bernadi, France 
  • Nicholas Hastie, UK 
  • Federick Sanger, UK (Declined) 
  • Lars Bolund, Denmark 
  • Leroy E. Hood*, USA
  • Susan W. Serjeantson, Australia 
  • Sydney Brenner*, UK 
  • Yoji Ikawa, Japan
  • Maxine F. Singer, USA 
  • W. Ted Brown, USA
  • Trefor Jenkins, South Africa 
  • Cassandra Smith, USA 
  • Graham Cameron, West Germany
  • Minoru Kanehisa, Japan 
  • Edwin M. Southern*, UK 
  • C. Thomas Caskey*, USA 
  • George Klein*, Sweden 
  • Eugene D. Sverdlov, USSR 
  • Howard Cedar, Israel 
  • Peter A. Lalley, USA 
  • Susumu Tonegawa, USA 
  • Daniel Cohen, France
  • David H. Ledbetter, USA 
  • Nguyen Van Cong, France 
  • Howard J. Cooke, UK 
  • Peter Little, UK 
  • Gert Jan van Ommen, The Netherlands 
  • Diane W. Cox, Canada 
  • Tom Maniatis, USA 
  • John J. Wasmuth, USA 
  • Ronald W. Davies, USA 
  • Victor A. McKusick*, USA 
  • Jean Weissenbach, France 
  • Helen Donis-Keller, USA
  • Jan Mohr, Denmark 
  • Michael Wigler, USA 
  • Argiris Efstratiadis, USA 
  • Susumu Nishimura, Japan 
  • Ernst L. Winnacker, West Germany 
  • Walter Fiers, Belgium 
  • Michio Oishi, Japan 
  • Hans G. Zachau, West Germany 
  • Anna-Marie Frischauf, UK 
  • David C. Page, USA