Quantum Computing represents the next big step towards speed boost in computation, which promises major breakthroughs in several disciplines including Artificial Intelligence. This paper investigates the performance of a genetic algorithm to optimize the realization (compilation) of nearest-neighbor compliant quantum circuits. Currrent technological limitations (e.g., decoherence effect) impose that the overall duration (makespan) of the quantum circuit realization be minimized, and therefore the makespanminimization problem of compiling quantum algorithms on present or future quantum machines is dragging increasing attention in the AI community. In our genetic algorithm, a solution is built utilizing a novel chromosome encoding where each gene controls the iterative selection of a quantum gate to be inserted in the solution, over a lexicographic double-key ranking returned by a heuristic function recently published in the literature.Our algorithm has been tested on a set of quantum circuit benchmark instances of increasing sizes available from the recent literature. We demonstrate that our genetic approach obtains very encouraging results that outperform the solutions obtained in previous research against the same benchmark, succeeding in significantly improving the makespan values for a great number of instances.