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
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.
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.
- genetic engineer
- molecular biologist