The Department of Human and Medical Genetics traces its roots back to the first genetic counselling office in Lithuania established in 1971. In the present form it was founded in 1991 as the Human Genetics Centre of the Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University and was closely interrelated with the Human Genetics Centre of Vilnius University Hospital. Since then, a number of organisational changes took place. Finally, in 2002 the Human Genetics Centre of the Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University was changed to the Department of Human and Medical Genetics with the Centre of Medical Genetics of Vilnius University Hospital as its clinical unit. Human Genome Research Centre was formed in 2003 as a research unit under the auspices of the Department of Human and Medical Genetics. Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Centre was established in 2011.

Investigations in the field of human and medical genetics were started in Lithuania in the third decade of the 20th century. They were virtually stopped during the Soviet occupation and started to recover just in the 7th decade. Restoration of the independency of the Republic of Lithuania in 1990 gave a new impulse to the development of research in the field of human and medical genetics and implementation of its achievements into practice in Lithuania by eliminating strong negative ideological pressure and opening doors for extensive collaborative contacts with leading European and world research, clinical and educational centres. The Department was engaged in a number of national and international research and health programmes.

Courses of lectures on genetics and human genetics were started in Vilnius University in the 7th decade of the 20th century. Systematic courses on human and medical genetics in the Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University were introduced in 1990.

In 1991, clinical genetics was recognised as a medical specialty by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania. A special training program was introduced. Initially, six years of undergraduate training were followed by one year of compulsory primary residency, secondary special residency and then special training in clinical genetics took another two years in the course of tertiary residency under the auspices of the Human Genetics Centre (presently, the Department of Human and Medical Genetics) of the Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University. In 2003 the system of residency in Lithuania was reorganised. Since then six years of undergraduate training in medicine is followed by one year internship with subsequent three to five years residency. Clinical geneticists performing genetic counselling and laboratory genetic testing are being trained in the four years residency in genetics (code A22) in the Department of Human and Medical Genetics.

Courses on human and clinical genetics provided by the specialists of the Department of Human and Medical Genetics in 1991 were included in other studies programmes in the Faculty of Natural Sciences (genetics, molecular biology) and Faculty of Philosophy (psychology, philosophy) of Vilnius University .

Post-graduate training of the specialists in human and medical genetics in Lithuania includes Ph.D. studies and advanced training courses for some specialties of physicians in the Department of Human and Medical Genetics of the Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University. Ph.D. studies programme in clinical genetics was introduced in Vilnius University in 1995.

At present, the Department of Human and Medical Genetics is the main institution in Lithuania systematically engaged in the research and specialists’ training in the field of human and medical genetics. Its closely interrelated clinical unit, the Centre for Medical Genetics of Vilnius University Hospital, is the main provider of genetic services to the population of Lithuania and serves as a clinical and research basis for the Department of Human and Medical Genetics.

Our mission is to achieve excellence in human and medical genetics teaching, research, and patient care (primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of congenital anomalies) as well as in the dissemination of knowledge on human genetics and genomics, congenital anomalies and means for their prevention to the physicians and general society of Lithuania.