What does a Geneticist do?

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What is a Geneticist?

Geneticists are basically biologists who specialize in the science of genetics. This is a branch of biology that deals with the characteristics of the different organisms, the development of such characteristics, and how these characteristics are passed on to their progeny.

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What does a Geneticist do?

Research is one thing all geneticists do in common. They study how different life forms vary and how these variations are passed on to succeeding generations. This requires them to conduct experiments in order to determine the origin, mechanisms, and governing laws of particular inherited traits.

Geneticists also seek out determinants (such as disease resistance, size, and color differences) responsible for certain traits. They do this through careful analysis in order to gain understanding of the various relationships between heredity and factors like fertility and maturity.

Depending on where they work, geneticists might then develop methods to modify or generate new traits through the use of chemicals, radiation, or other means, or to use what they learn in genetic counselling, in managing a hereditary disease, or in teaching a new crop of future geneticists.

How to become a Geneticist

Because genetics is a graduate level course, people start off as biologists on the road to becoming geneticists. They might also begin as professionals of one of the subfields of biology, like botany or zoology. Those who are medical geneticists start off as medical doctors who then specialize in genetics. Some specialize even further into various genetics subfields like biochemical genetics or molecular genetics pathology.

In high school, prospective geneticists should have excellent foundation and grades not just in science but also in mathematics. Their college education will be heavy on these particular fields. The fact that genetics is a graduate level course should not be a deterrent for them.

Because this profession entails a lot of research even for those who work at educational institutions, patience, perseverance, and attention to detail are important traits to develop. They should also be innately curious about the implications of genetics on health and disease. All the information gathered should also be communicated clearly to minimize mistakes or misunderstandings. This makes having good communication skills, both oral and written, essential.

Most schools do not offer an undergraduate genetics program. Those interested in this career major in Biology, Molecular Biology, or some other similar course. They then proceed to graduate programs (Masters and Doctorates degrees) in genetics. However, a medical geneticist goes into medicine first before he or she may specialize in genetics.

What is the workplace of a Geneticist like?

The workplace depends on the type of work being done. Most research geneticists work in the laboratory of a research facility. On rare occasions, some may go to the field to extract samples. This, however, is usually done for them by others.

Medical geneticists might work in a hospital, a medical research facility, or a biotechnological research company. Many who continue to practice medicine work at both places. Their research work may also require them to work in these places in order to link medical practice with medical research on genetics and heredity.

The laboratory of a research facility, medical or biotechnological, is a very clean and sterile environment. Such labs are filled some of the latest technological advances in analyzing an organism’s genome. Banks of computers are also present to properly keep track of data gathered and to make mathematical calculations.

Of course, professors teach at various learning institutions. Most work at colleges with biology departments with strong concentrations in genetics. Research may also be conducted by these learning institutions, and it is quite common to see biology and chemistry laboratories in such schools conducting genetic research.

External Reading

  • Careers In Clinical Molecular Genetics sciencecareers.sciencemag.org

    Each of us carries 10 to 15 "mistakes" in our personal genetic code. Though most of us are blissfully ignorant of our genetic flaws, these typos in our DNA may determine whether we have children, develop colon cancer, or end up with Alzheimer's.

  • Career Profile: Genetic Counselor allhealthcare.monster.com

    I chose to become a genetic counselor because I loved genetics and wanted a career combining the life and social sciences.

  • A Working Life: The Geneticist www.theguardian.com

    Joe Rainger might still have been a chef, but for a degree change that took him out of the kitchen and plunged him into a world of DNA research.

  • How To Become A Plant Geneticist: Career Guide www.academicinvest.com

    To become a plant geneticist you need a combination of having an interest in plant biology, research experience, laboratory experience and training and an advanced education.

  • How To Become A Geneticist: Career Path Guide www.academicinvest.com

    If you want to become a geneticist, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a geneticist...

  • Geneticist Salary www.buzzle.com

    As is the case with most occupations, the salary of a geneticist is determined by a lot of factors. This includes the education of the individual, the location, experience, job profile, etc.

  • Responsibilities Of A Clinical Geneticist work.chron.com

    Clinical genetics is a branch of medicine that deals with hereditary genetic disorders. These include chromosome abnormalities that can lead to birth defects, gene disorders such as cystic fibrosis, and familial cancer.

  • What Is A Pediatric Geneticist? www.healthychildren.org

    Pediatric geneticists are trained to identify the causes and natural history of disorders in children.