What is a Geneticist?
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A geneticist is someone who specializes in the science of genetics. This is a branch of biology that deals with the characteristics of different organisms, the development of such characteristics, and how these characteristics are passed on to their progeny. A geneticist will evaluate, diagnose, and manage patients with hereditary conditions or congenital malformations, and will also refer patients to other medical specialties.
How to Become a Geneticist
What does a Geneticist do?
Geneticists 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 colour 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.
There are several branches of genetics that a person can choose to go into; each offers its own unique challenges and interesting subjects. Some geneticists go into agriculture in order to increase crop yield and learn about the resistance to various diseases that commonly affect valuable crops. Biomedicine applies a knowledge of genetics and genetic origin of some diseases in order to create medicines that target the causes of these diseases and disorders. They may also seek to treat genetic disorders that some people experience from birth, such as sickle-cell anemia.
Forensic scientists may use their knowledge of genetics to run DNA tests in order to verify the guilt or innocence of a certain suspect. A geneticist may be called to assist an archaeologist or historian in order to analyze ancient organic matter. Some get into the field of bioinformatics, which combines computer science with biology, attempting to analyze huge amounts of information, such as that in the human genome, and draw scientific conclusions from it.
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How to Become a Geneticist
In high school, prospective geneticists should have an excellent foundation and grades not just in science but also in mathematics; college education will be heavy in these particular fields.
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. 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.
Because genetics is a graduate level course, students typically 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.
What is the workplace of a Geneticist like?
Geneticists can work in many different fields, doing a variety of jobs. There are many careers for geneticists in medicine, agriculture, wildlife, general sciences, or many other fields. 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, however, this is usually done for them by others.
Medical geneticists work in hospitals, medical research facilities, or biotechnological research companies. Their research work may require them to work in these places in order to link medical practice with medical research on genetics and heredity. The laboratory of a medical or biotechnological research facility is a very clean and sterile environment, and is filled with the latest technological advances in analyzing an organism’s genome.
Professors teach at various learning institutions. Most work at colleges in 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.
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