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Last Updated: Monday, 26 January, 2004, 06:34 GMT
New genetics centre opens
The new centre is based at Yorkhill hospital
A new clinical genetics centre for the west of Scotland is being officially opened at Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow.

The Ferguson-Smith Centre is named after the man who founded the service in 1961 to give information about conditions which run in families.

These include Down's Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy and some forms of cancer and heart disease.

The new centre will provide room for clinicians and patients, allowing laboratory staff to expand.

Clinical staff

They will be able to provide the most recent developments in genetic tests.

The Yorkhill site has offered information and counselling to almost 25,000 families in the past four decades.

The service began with five members of staff including Professor Malcolm Ferguson-Smith and his wife.

The team has since expanded to more than 100.

The new Ferguson-Smith Centre will complement the existing Duncan Guthrie Institute that opened in 1980 and housed both clinical and laboratory staff in the one unit.

Professor Mike Connor, director of the West of Scotland Regional Genetics Service, said: "In the early years it was often very difficult to pinpoint who in a family might be at risk of inheriting a condition.

Yorkhill is known worldwide for its genetic services, its training programme, and its high quality research in medical genetics
Professor Malcolm Ferguson-Smith
"However, new genetic tests for the many thousands of genetic conditions are becoming available each year meaning we can often find a family's damaged gene, make an accurate diagnosis, and identify healthy people who might develop the condition in the future or pass it on.

"The new centre will enable us to work far more effectively with our patients and their families."

Professor Ferguson-Smith said he was honoured that the new centre was being named after him.

He said: "Yorkhill is known worldwide for its genetic services, its training programme, and its high quality research in medical genetics.

"I welcome this new development, as it will provide even better access to the people who desperately need genetic services."

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