American Genetic Association

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The American Genetic Association (AGA), formerly the American Breeders' Association, is a USA-based learned society dedicated to the study of genetics. Founded in 1903, the organization publishes the Journal of Heredity.

Original plates of Darwin and Mendel from Volume 1, Issue 1 of the American Breeders Magazine, 1910.


The American Genetic Association (AGA), formerly the American Breeders' Association, is a professional organization founded to encourage the study of comparative genetics and genomics, and to promote the application of genetic and genomic methods to the documentation, conservation, and management of organismal diversity.

The American Breeders Association held its first meeting in 1903 to discuss the “new” science of genetics that arose from Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and Gregor Mendel’s discoveries of the laws of inheritance. The organization was established “to study the laws of breeding and to promote the improvement of plants and animals by the development of expert methods of breeding.” [1]

In 1914, the American Breeders Association broadened its scope and became the American Genetic Association. Today, the AGA’s interests encompass evolutionary diversity and genomics across taxa and subject areas, including conservation genetics, phylogenetics, phylogeography, gene function, and the genetics of domestication.

The AGA disseminates progress in these fields through its publication, Journal of Heredity. It supports research and scholarship through sponsorship of an annual President’s Symposium, special events awards, the Stephen J. O’Brien Award, and the Evolutionary, Ecological, or Conservation Genomics Research Awards.

The AGA is a 501(c)(3) corporation, incorporated in Oregon, Federal Tax ID 53-0204656.

Annual Meeting[edit]

The American Genetic Association’s annual conference, referred to as the President’s Symposium, is organized by the AGA President for that year. In recent years, these meetings have focused on a relevant or emerging theme in non-human genetics and genomics research.

A special issue of the AGA’s Journal of Heredity is devoted each year to publishing proceedings of the symposium. These special issues are available without a subscription from the AGA and Journal of Heredity websites.

Key Lecturers[edit]

The keynote speaker at the annual symposium gives the Key Distinguished Lecture. This lecture series was initially funded by a bequest to the AGA from Dr. Wilhemine Key for support of genetics initiatives for human welfare. Dr. Key earned her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1901, and taught at Lombard College, where Sewall Wright was her student. She later carried out pedigree studies of pioneer families that had emigrated from Germany to Pennsylvania in the late 18th century.

See also[edit]

Genetics, Genomics, Conservation genetics, Population genetics, Evolutionary biology


External links[edit]