What is a Genomics Technician?

Genomics is a branch of molecular biology concerned with the structure, function, evolution, and mapping of genomes.

A genome is a complete set of DNA within a single cell of an organism. A genomics technician assists researchers and project managers in a support capacity, experimenting with genes, gene therapy, and research that affects nutrition and health. They use state of the art technology when executing experiments with humans, animals, and plants.

What does a Genomics Technician do?

A genomics technician will use a range of technologies to determine and compare DNA and RNA sequences.

Two genomics technicians in a lab looking at DNA samples through a microscope.

They perform a variety of tasks, including isolating RNA and DNA from samples, constructing libraries, performing quality control, carrying out titrations, and working with a variety of microarray, PCR, and DNA sequencing technologies.

Genomics technicians have extensive analytical and computer skills, and are organized and able to communicate their findings clearly.  They spend time participating in genomic data studies; gathering materials, information and samples; and use and maintain test tubes, microscopes, and scales.

Genomics technicians may be expected to develop new protocols under the supervision of a supervisor. They also assist scientists in microscopic organism studies and other hands-on laboratory work.

There is often confusion between the fields of genetics and genomics.

Genetics is the study of heredity, or how the characteristics of living organisms are transmitted from one generation to the next via DNA.

Genomics is the study of the entirety of an organism’s genes – called the genome. Using computing and math techniques known as bioinformatics, genomics researchers analyze enormous amounts of DNA-sequence data to find variations that affect health, disease or drug response.

Genomics is a much newer field than genetics and has became possible only in the last few decades due to technical advances in DNA sequencing and computational biology.

Are you suited to be a genomics technician?

Genomics technicians have distinct personalities. They tend to be artistic individuals, which means they’re creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate, and expressive. They are unstructured, original, nonconforming, and innovative. Some of them are also conventional, meaning they’re conscientious and conservative.

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What is the workplace of a Genomics Technician like?

Genomics technicians work in a laboratory setting almost exclusively. They typically work a standard 40-hour week, but night shifts and weekend work may be needed at times. 

Genomics technicians must be able to work well as part of a team, as well as work independently with limited supervision. They often work with a variety of professionals, from PhD scientists, to nurses, medical doctors, and administrators.

Genomics technicians may come in contact with some toxic chemicals that require special handing and precautions, so adherence to strict safety protocols are expected at all times.