I would like to extend my best wishes to all the members of the Japan Society of Human Genetics and invite you to attend the 64th Annual Meeting, which will be held from Wednesday, November 6 to Saturday, November 9, 2019 in Nagasaki. It is a great honor to be asked to host this conference in Nagasaki, the birthplace of Western medicine in Japan. This 64th Annual Meeting will address the latest discoveries and study results in genetics, and I hope it will provide the opportunity for lively discussions. We are working hard on preparations to ensure that the meeting runs smoothly.
Recent years have seen remarkable advances in genetics, particularly in sequencing technology, which have made human genome information easy to obtain. While these are contributing greatly to new developments in medical science and healthcare, they are also socially controversial, raising a variety of different concerns. Since its establishment in 1956, the membership of the Japan Society of Human Genetics has steadily increased, and will soon exceed 4,500. It has developed into an increasingly important society in the medical world, attracting widespread interest, and members of the public are attentive to the associated ethical and social issues.
The theme of this meeting is “The Beginning,” chosen to convey our desire to stop and take a fresh look at matters that we tend to overlook in the hurry to keep up with rapidly evolving changes in technology. The word “genetics” was coined almost contemporaneously with the term “scientist,” in the era that saw the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) and Mendel’s Versuche über Pflanzen-Hybriden (1865) and hence the emergence of the study of natural science in terms of evolution and genetics. The pathway to today’s regenerative medicine and personalized therapies had its origins in that era, and has seen continuous development ever since. However, the fact that applying the knowledge acquired from evolution and genetics to society also led to the emergence of the concept of “eugenics” is a major wake-up call. In this meeting, Special Lectures will be given by science writer Masataka Watanabe, Japan’s leading scholar on Darwin and Mendel, and Kenichi Shinoda of the National Museum of Nature and Science, who has used DNA analysis to trace the origins of the Japanese people. Both will offer us the opportunity to reconsider the nature of “The Beginning.”
Nagasaki is a temperate area, set between the sea and the mountains, and is blessed with local seafood and mountain delicacies. In addition to scientific inquiry, please do also take the opportunity to visit its UNESCO World Heritage-listed churches; the island of Gunkanjima, which thrived on its former undersea coal mines from the Meiji to Showa eras, and had a population density greater than Tokyo’s; the family resort of Huis Ten Bosch; and the renowned hot spring resorts of Unzen and Obama. I look forward to welcoming many of you here.
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology,
1-9-17 Tenjin,Chuo-ku, Fukuoka,810-0001,Japan