Welcome to the South African Genetics Society

Who are we?

The South African Genetics Society (SAGS) is the official professional organisation (as a registered voluntary association, in terms of the Natural Scientific Professionals Act of 2003) for geneticists in South Africa.  As such, we provide a platform for discourse and collaboration for scholars, researchers, practitioners, and other stakeholders that have a vested interest in genetics as a science. We actively promote and foster genetics as an academic discipline, research enterprise and the responsible application and use of genetic knowledge in civil society by hosting conferences, symposia and workshops.

The SAGS assists and advises on the establishment of standards and best practice guidelines for teaching, research, and application of genetics in South Africa. We also facilitate genetic literacy through information sharing and public engagement on the value of historic and new developments in genetics and encourages education and training in this regard.

Through its various networks the SAGS strives to facilitate multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional scientific co-operation with genetics as the foundation, specifically within the context of southern Africa and Africa.

What is Genetics?

Genetics is the fundamental discipline that underpins the modern biological sciences, it transects our understanding of all biological systems. At its core, Genetics is the study of variation in biological information: how it is created, encoded and stored; translated and expressed; and transmitted across generations. Genetics is an incredibly broad discipline, and can be subdivided into number subdisciplines:

  • Transmission Genetics – Fundamentally investigates how traits are passed on from one generation to the next.
  • Molecular Genetics – The study of the molecular nature of heredity, and is often concerned with investigating chemical changes in the DNA molecule and the resulting consequences on gene form and function
  • Cytogenetics – The study of chromosomes
  • Quantitative Genetics – The study of complex traits, influenced by many genes and the role of the environment in trait development.
  • Population and Evolutionary Genetics – The study of how genes and traits change over time in a population of organisms and how this my lead to new species.

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