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Geneticist

Geneticist

Geneticists study genes and the biochemical and physiological aspects of living organisms such as humans, animals, and plants. Geneticists concentrate on investigating how genes effect the physical traits of the living organisms they study.

Geneticists often choose an area of specialization. For example, biomedical geneticists study the role of genetic factors on normal and abnormal biochemistry. Developmental geneticists concentrate on how cell development is controlled by genetics. Biochemical and molecular geneticists study animal and plant genes; they identify how genes are transmitted, how they mutate, and how beneficial genetic effects may be fostered. Plant and animal geneticists find ways to use genetics to improve the quality of agricultural products. Finally, population geneticists study entire populations of living organisms; they look for trends in heredity and evolution over extended periods of time.

Educational requirements

In the U.S., geneticists may need the following education and training:

  • a bachelor's degree in genetics or biochemistry is a requirement of many entry-level positions
  • a master's or doctoral degree is necessary for high level technical work, independent study, and positions in education

Career Path: An increasing number of medical doctors receive additional training and education in order to earn a master's degree in genetics.

On the Job

Geneticists usually divide their time between an office setting and a laboratory. They often work with extremely sophisticated equipment that requires a great deal of care, precision, and attention to detail. Geneticists often work as part of a team, conducting research in areas that are still not very well understood.

Math on the Job

Geneticists may gather vast amounts of information. They analyze this information and draw meaningful conclusions. This requires an excellent ability to understand statistics, problem solve, troubleshoot, and organize information. Geneticists may need to devise innovative solutions to problems that have never been solved. Geneticists may use sophisticated equipment, instruments and computers to assist them with their work.

Related Careers

  • genetic engineer
  • molecular biologist
  • biotechnologist
  • biochemist