We’re celebrating a decade and a half of bringing quality, understandable information about human genetics to patients, their families, and the public.
The Genetics Home Reference website was first launched on April 25, 2003, at NLM’s Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications. The creation of Genetics Home Reference coincided with the completion of the Human Genome Project, a 13-year international effort to map the entire human genome.
A growing resource
Genetics Home Reference was designed to provide a bridge between the public’s interest in human genetics and the rich technical data that has emerged from the Human Genome Project and subsequent genomic research. The site began with 19 health condition summaries and 16 gene summaries. Fifteen years later, it offer summaries of more than 1,200 genetic conditions, 1,450 genes, all of the human chromosomes, and mitochondrial DNA. The information is written by NLM staff and reviewed by experts in the field.
In 2016, we redesigned the website to give it a more modern look and feel, better navigation, and more educational images. We also improved usability for our mobile and tablet users.
Still going strong
New information and updates are added regularly. Recent and upcoming content includes:
- New pages on a variety of health conditions, particularly common, complex diseases with a genetic component (such as diabetes, mental illnesses, and hair loss)
- Q&As about the genetics of normal traits, such as longevity and athletic ability
- User-friendly explanations of complex genetics concepts, including secondary findings in genetic testing and genome editing (CRISPR)
- A guide to navigating direct-to-consumer genetic testing (such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com)
- Images of individuals with specific genetic diseases, through a partnership with the Genetic Alliance
Time to celebrate
Genetics Home Reference may be turning 15, but instead of getting our learner’s permit or celebrating our quinceañera, you’ll find us working on new features for the website—and eating cake.
We look forward to serving the public’s genetics information needs for many years to come.
Cheers to Genetics Home Reference!
By Stephanie M. Morrison, MPH, Team Coordinator, Genetics Home Reference