Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Daniel R. Wilson
Human genetics is the study of the inheritance of epi-genetic traits among humans, notably but not exclusively traits of medical interest. The overarching goal of human genetics is to apply knowledge of human heredity to a better understanding of diversity in development and adaptation as “nature is nurtured.” Another central goal of human genetics is the public health function of reducing dysgenetic burdens on individuals, families, and society at large. Although the boundaries of subdisiplines within genetics are not precise, the term anthropological genetics is used to distinguish general human genetics from more clinical applications, with the latter sometimes denoted specifically as medical genetics. Humans, like all species, have many genotypic and phenotypic variations. Such variation is ultimately derived from mutations that affect proteomic expression. Genes encode for proteins that ultimately arrange and regulate all manner of biological structures and processes, from the intracellular level to organismic and even on ...