Genetic algorithms are a part of evolutionary computing, which is a rapidly growing area of artificial intelligence.
As you can guess, genetic algorithms are inspired by Darwin's theory about
evolution. Simply said, solution to a problem solved by genetic algorithms
Idea of evolutionary computing was introduced in the 1960s by I. Rechenberg in his work "Evolution strategies" (Evolutionsstrategie in original). His idea was then developed by other researchers. Genetic Algorithms (GAs) were invented by John Holland and developed by him and his students and colleagues. This lead to Holland's book "Adaption in Natural and Artificial Systems" published in 1975.
In 1992 John Koza has used genetic algorithm to evolve programs to perform certain tasks. He called his method "genetic programming" (GP). LISP programs were used, because programs in this language can expressed in the form of a "parse tree", which is the object the GA works on.