Centenary of the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences

UCT’s contribution to medical genetics in Africa - from the past into the future

Peter Beighton, Karen Fieggen, Ambroise Wonkam, Raj Ramesar, Jacquie Greenberg


The Division of Human Genetics (DHG), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town (UCT) – established in 1972 – recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. We review its history, current status and future objectives.
Dr Stuart Saunders, former Professor of Medicine and Vice-Chancellor of UCT, played a pivotal role in initiating the DHG. Dr Peter Beighton served as Professor of Human Genetics from 1972 to 1999. In this period, the initial focus was on medical genetics and the development of cytogenetic, biochemical and molecular laboratories, with the help of Prof Jacquie Greenberg. Fourteen clinical and scientific DHG members obtained doctorates; of these, 8 achieved full professorial status.
Current Head of the Department, Prof Raj Ramesar, succeeded to the Chair in 1999. Expansion of the molecular laboratories followed. The DHG now has comprehensive programmes for postgraduate scientific training, research and service.
Publications during the lifetime of the DHG include more than 540 articles in peer-reviewed medical, genetic and scientific journals, 20 books and contributions to over 40 chapters/editorials in scientific and medical genetic books.

Authors' affiliations

Peter Beighton, Formerly: Division of Human Genetics and UCT/MRC Unit for Medical Genetics, University of Cape Town

Karen Fieggen, Clinical Genetic Services, Division of Human Genetics, University of Cape Town

Ambroise Wonkam, Division of Human Genetics, University of Cape Town

Raj Ramesar, Division of Human Genetics, University of Cape Town

Jacquie Greenberg, Molecular Genetics Diagnostic Laboratory, Division of Human Genetics, University of Cape Town

Full Text



History, Medical Genetics, UCT, Genetic Services, MEDICAL GENETICS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2012;102(6):446-448.

Article History

Date submitted: 2012-01-13
Date published: 2012-03-02

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