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What Are the Different Genetics Jobs?

Plant genetics can be used to improve or create new crops.
A genetics scientist might work at a biotechnology company, assist police departments with crime investigations or help patients who have illnesses of genetic origin.
Geneticists in the agriculture sector work to develop new strains of corn, wheat, and other domesticated plants.
Medical geneticists may work in the pharmaceutical industry.
Genetic research looks at inheritable beneficial traits and diseases.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2014
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The field of genetics is quite large, making genetics jobs very diverse. A number of jobs in the field of genetics are available, depending on the aspect of genetics someone is interested in and his or her qualifications. Many people working in this field have medical degrees or doctorates in science, although some jobs are open to people who have completed shorter programs of study such as programs at technical schools which prepare people for lab work.

In the branch of medical genetics, people apply information about genetics to medical issues. An example of a job in this field is that of genetic counselor. Genetic counselors work with people to conduct genetic testing, explain the test results, and talk about what those results may mean. For example, someone who thinks that she carries the gene for Huntington's Disease might request a genetic test to see if the gene is present, and talk with a genetic counselor about treatment options. Or, a genetic counselor might work with people who are experiencing fertility problems to see if there is a genetic component to their troubles.

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Medical genetics can also include positions in the pharmaceutical industry, working on gene therapy products and genetic research which will advance the practice of medicine as a whole. Medical genetics also has a need for laboratory technicians who can conduct genetic tests and analyze results, such as the cytogenetic technologists who analyze the chromosomes. Animal medicine also has lots of available genetics jobs, including positions for people who provide advice about breeding, as does the agriculture industry, which uses geneticists to develop new crops and improve crop performance.

People who are more interested in pure science can explore genetics jobs in research, including jobs which involve the sequencing of the entire genome for various organisms, manipulation of genetic material, genetic engineering, and the study of genetic inheritance. For people with a strong background in math, genetics jobs in bioinformatics and statistical analysis may also be of interest, providing an opportunity to work with data generated by researchers and interpret the data to provide meaningful results.

Fans of TV crime shows may be interested in genetics jobs in forensics. DNA forensics is used for tasks like paternity tests, identifying unknown crime victims, and analyzing biological evidence found at the scene of a crime. Jobs in genetic labs can be very rewarding, especially for people who choose to specialize in working with difficult samples, extracting DNA when other labs cannot and getting a chance to work with rare, unusual, and interesting samples as a result.

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Monika
Post 3

I think having a people who have human genetics jobs in forensics probably have the most exciting genetics job. Maybe I've watched too many crime shows, but it looks like it would be quite an action packed job! You would be working on different crimes all the time, so you would probably never get bored.

Plus, you would have the satisfaction of knowing you helped protect society and catch a criminal! You wouldn't get that from just doing research in a regular lab.

JessicaLynn
Post 2

@indemnifmy - I might be mean for saying this, but that sounds like it might have been pretty hilarious to watch. Also keep in mind, people who get medical genetics jobs as genetic counseling have usually gone through specific training. So they're probably able to be much more sensitive than your untrained classmates!

Also, one genetics job that the article didn't mention is doing genetic alterations in the agriculture industry. So much of our food is grown from genetically modified seeds, I'm assuming there are probably tons of jobs for geneticists in this field.

indemnifyme
Post 1

Wow, it sounds like there are a lot of different genetics lab jobs. If someone has an interest (and skill) in genetics, it looks like there are tons of options.

I will say though, that if you don't have people skills (in addition to your genetics knowledge) you probably shouldn't work as a genetics counselor. I will never forget one of my lab projects when I took biology in college. We had to research a genetic disease, and then "counsel" one of the other students as if they had it/the baby they were carrying had it.

Some of the other students were extremely insensitive in their counseling! If they were real counselors, I think they would be out of a job very quickly!

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