VCGS was established in 1986 as an amalgamation of clinical genetics services and genetic pathology laboratories that had been operating at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) campus since the 1960s. At the same time the research activities in genetics at the RCH site were consolidated into the Murdoch Institute for Research into Birth Defects (now MCRI) with seed funding from the Murdoch family under the patronage of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch. VCGS became a subsidiary company of MCRI and expanded its clinical services to other metropolitan hospitals, regional and interstate centres. Continued growth saw the creation of seven unique pathology laboratory services, and substantial resources were diverted into specialised clinical genetics services and the growing area of genetic counselling.
2014 and beyond
Over the next decade VCGS will maintain its international standing and remain at the forefront of world renowned genetics services, by implementing new genetic testing technologies such as non-invasive prenatal testing and Next Generation Sequencing, and by expanding translational genomics research and development.
Today, 75% of Victoria's pregnant women are screened through VCGS Maternal Serum Screening program, and all of Victoria's newborns are tested, through newborn screening, for more than 25 conditions. The VCGS Cytogenetics laboratory is the largest in Australia.
The advent of new genetic testing technologies, along with the increasing birth rate in Victoria, means we are seeing unprecedented growth in the demand and need for ever-greater access to genetic testing, counselling and scientific research. VCGS will continue to be a major player in this exciting journey.