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November 17, 1993

Medical Genetics: A 40-Year Perspective on the Evolution of a Medical Specialty From a Basic Science

JAMA. 1993;270(19):2351-2356. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510190107035

WITHIN the last year, medical genetics has been fully recognized as a bona fide clinical specialty. The American Board of Medical Genetics, established in 1979 under the wing of the American Society of Human Genetics (with first examinations in 1981), was accepted into the family of specialty-certifying boards as the 24th member of the American Board of Medical Specialties. In 1992, the American College of Medical Genetics was established in parallel to the colleges of other specialties. The development of this clinical specialty has taken place during the last 40 years, and many involved in that development are still active to tell the story.1

The American Board of Medical Genetics is unusual among specialty boards in the fact that PhD geneticists are certified for working in clinical genetics, and the board has specialized certification in clinical genetics, biochemical genetics, and molecular genetics on the basis of separate examinations. (The