Clinical genetics services have become an integrated part of health care in nearly all European countries. The emphasis has been on postnatal cytogenetic, biochemical, and DNA diagnosis of congenital disorders, carrier detection, genetic counseling, and prenatal diagnosis. Use has been satisfactory, and very few ethical problems have arisen, apart from moral objections against abortion by minority groups. The progress of human gene mapping is associated with new perspectives in clinical genetics and will enable the identification of people at risk of major adult diseases. This prospect has caused some concern about psychosocial and ethical issues that are being dealt with in different ways in various postindustrial societies. In future decades, however, 95% of the world's population increase will occur in developing countries. In most of these countries, a low per capita income, female illiteracy, low rates of contraceptive use, teenage pregnancy, and religious and traditional cultural factors are major complications of implementing genetic services at a global level. There are, however, some exceptions, which are discussed.