What we do

What we do

The BSGM is an independent professional body. We bring together people working in genetics and genomics disciplines, undertake educational activities, provide information, offer informed opinion and issue statements on important aspects of human genetics. BSGM has always taken an active role in considering social, ethical and legal implications of scientific advances,  The links below give examples of our activities in these areas.

Here are examples of our activities in these areas.

A major one-day BSGM conference on clinical genomics is organised each year, which is designed to consider topics from a wide perspective, aiming to present aspects of a subject which may not usually be considered from a particular professional group’s point of view.  This is the advantage of an umbrella organisation where knowledge, views and opinions from a wide range of professional experience are available to be presented. 

Topics for 2019 include the Transforming Genetic Medicine Initiative; missing heritability; pharmacogenetics;  applications of genomics in the management of human disease; cancer genetics and structural variation in the human genome.

The prestigious BSGM Lecture is usually given as part of the conference.

BSGM occasionally organises conferences with other groups – for instance BSGM and Genomics England (GE) held a one conference in November 2018 on “Transforming medicine through genomics”. We held a joint meeting with Genetics Society in November 2017 on “The human genome in healthcare”.

The Society has an interest in the provision of genetic and genomic services at a national level, and is asked for reports and advice on important issues. Recent examples include BSGM providing information for the NHS long term plan with respect to genomics, responding to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee 2018 Inquiry on “Genomics and Gene editing in the NHS” with written and oral evidence, and contributing to the Chief Medical Officer’s 2016 “Generation Genome” report.
BSGM and the constituent groups were asked for advice by NHS England Commissioning on the specification for Genomic Laboratories redesign and by Health Education England on the content of MSc courses in Genomic Sciences and Genomic Counselling. BSGM worked with the Department of Health advising on policy for data sharing across the NHS, ethics and bioethics, pathology quality assurance and a plan for a rare disease registry. 

BSGM has always considered the ethical, legal and social implications of advances in genomics and genetics particularly in the application of new techniques.  BSGM is currently working with NHSE to develop an approach to consent to WGS (and other forms of testing) that acknowledges the clinical- research hybrid territory required for successful genome interpretation.

Our ethics and policy committee responded to the draft revised Code on Predictive Genetic Testing Concordat and Moratorium on Insurance

Past issues on which we have had an active voice include Genetic testing of children; Consent and Confidentiality; Genetics and Insurance, and the patenting of genes.  Reports and statements were issued on all these.

Along with the Royal College of Pathologists and the Royal College of Physicians, BSGM is one of the three founder members of the Joint Committee on Genomics in Medicine in which we continue to take an active role. It provides a unified forum to co-ordinate activities across a wide spectrum of organisations, particularly to promote and maintain the highest standards of practice in clinical and laboratory applications of genetics in medicine and to co-ordinate advice on service issues and workforce planning. The BSGM undertook a major lead in the updating of the guidance on “Consent and Confidentiality”.

We have close links with the European Society of Human Genetics, hosting the ESHG conference in 1996 (London), 2003 (Birmingham) and 2015 (Glasgow), and will be the host again in 2021 (June 12-15 in Glasgow).

BSGM is a member of the International Federation of Human Genetics Societies.

As part of its role as a charitable organisation, the British Society for Genetic Medicine offers support with travel costs for members. Preference is given to presenters of accepted abstracts at meetings, but consideration for awards may also be given for educational/laboratory visits.


Although we represent professionals in genetics and genomics services, BSGM is not able to provide information on specific genetic conditions, nor can BSGM give medical advice to individuals. We have however offered a list of organisations who may be able to help with information on the “Public, patients, families” section of our website, and a list of the regional centres which provide genetic clinics.