What is a Geneticist?

Genetics is a branch of biology that delves into the characteristics of different organisms, the development of such characteristics, and how these characteristics are passed on to their progeny.

Geneticists study how different life forms vary and how these variations are passed on to succeeding generations. Through analysis, they determine the origin, mechanisms, and governing laws of particular inherited traits.

What does a Geneticist do?

Genetics is a sub-field of biology. There are various career avenues one can take with this subject, but they all have the same focus — genes, heredity, mutation, and genetic variation.

A geneticist looking through a microscope.

Depending on where they work, geneticists might 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 counseling, 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, and each offers its own unique challenges and interesting subjects:

  • Some geneticists choose to go into agricultural field of genetics in order to increase crop yield, and to learn about the resistance to various diseases that commonly affect valuable crops.
  • Some choose to go into the biomedicine field, which 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.
  • Clinical/medical geneticists evaluate, diagnose, and manage patients with hereditary conditions or congenital malformations. They 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.
  • 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 geneticists find the field of bioinformatics fascinating, 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.

Are you suited to be a geneticist?

Geneticists have distinct personalities. They tend to be investigative individuals, which means they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive. They are curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical. Some of them are also artistic, meaning they’re creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate, and expressive.

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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.

Clinical/medical geneticists work in hospitals, medical research facilities, or biotechnological research companies.

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 conducting genetic research.

Geneticists are also known as:
Research Geneticist Medical Geneticist Genetics Scientist