NHGRI logo
Chromosome spread

​Genetic Epidemiology

updated: May 21, 2022

Definition

Genetic epidemiology is a field of science focused on the study of how genetic factors influence human traits, such as human health and disease. In many cases, the interaction of genes with the environment is also measured. Genetic epidemiologists seek to understand the causes, distribution and control of inherited disease in groups and the multifactorial causes of genetic diseases in populations.



Narration

Genetic epidemiology. Genetic epidemiology has a complex history. In many ways, the human genome project and genomics is the culmination of the promise of genetic epidemiology which, especially since the 2000s, has possessed the tools and the knowledge to understand how genomic diversity and the environment contribute to health and disease. Through genome-wide association studies and other tools, scientists continue to uncover the precise role of genetic and environmental influences on human health.

Christopher R. Donohue
Christopher Donohue, Ph.D.

Historian

NHGRI History of Genomics Program