Medical Definition of Archaeogenetics

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

Archaeogenetics: The study of the past using the techniques of molecular genetics. The application of genetics to archeology. The term "archaeogenetics" was coined in the 1990s by the archeologist Colin Renfrew from the Greek archaios (ancient) + genetics = archaeogenetics, literally, ancient genetics.

In archaeogenetics, information on the DNA of different ethnic groups from around the world is used to analyze prehistoric events and corroborate accounts from historical sources. The DNA data are reconciled with the findings of archeologists, linguists, and paleoanthropologists to shed light on the past.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018