How to become a Geneticist in India

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Do you ever wonder why you look like how look? Are you lancinated by the laws if inheritance? Do cross breeds and hybrids fascinate you? If yes, then maybe you would want to consider the option of becoming Geneticist. Read on to know about what Geneticists do, and how you could become a geneticist yourself.

What exactly do geneticists do?

Geneticists are scientists who investigate the characteristics of inheritance in living organisms. They investigate genes in plants, animals, and people by examining at a molecular level about cell replication and evolution. Geneticists examine genes of plants, animals, and human beings to see how they interact with one another, evolve, and replicate

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They play a crucial in the treatment of patients with genetic diseases by analyzing how various internal, and external environmental factors are responsible for a certain disease. A geneticist is works genetic material in laboratories using advanced tools and technologies. They apply their skills of research and development for analysis of a cell at a genetic level.

Some of the typical responsibilities of a geneticist include – 

  • Performing experiments, tests and research in the laboratory 
  • Extracting DNA from different sources
  • Performing various diagnostic tests for analysis
  • Analyzing, interpreting, and reviewing genetic lab results
  • Documentations of the processes and protocols followed, as well as the results obtained
  • Drawing inferences from genetic data and publishing the research 
  • At senior levels, overseeing or guiding the work of other geneticists, biologists, technologists, or biometricians involved in genetics research 

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What are the qualifications needed to become a Geneticist?

In 10+2 level, it is mandatory to take science stream with Biology and Chemistry. At undergraduate level. You could either choose to do a degree in Genetics, or any other subject in life sciences like Microbiology, Biochemistry with genetics as a major subject is also fine. For better scope and opportunities, it is advised to do a Master’s degree with specialization in Genetics. Different institutions offer the same with different names.

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Some of these include –

  • M.Sc. in Genetics
  • M.Sc. (Hons.) in Genetics
  • M.Sc. in Applied Genetics
  • M.Sc. in Biomedical Genetics
  • M.Sc. in Human Genetics
  • M.Sc. in Microbial Genetics and Bioinformatics
  • M.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Human Genetics
  • M.Sc. in Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering

What are the important skills to become a geneticist?

Analytical skills must have the capacity to perform scientific tests and analysis with precision and accuracy. 

Mathematical skills a solid foundation in math, including calculus and statistics to employ complicated equations and formulae. 

Critical-thinking & Problem-solving skills using sound reasoning and judgement to draw conclusions from experimental results and find solutions to solve any problems that occur.

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Perseverance a meticulous to their research and problem-solving techniques since scientific study requires a lot of trial and error.

Communication skills having the skills to create and publish reports and research papers, explain their findings in front of groups, and communicate properly with their colleagues. 

Time-management skills effectively managing time and prioritizing projects while keeping a high level of quality in work.

Interpersonal skills often required to be part of multidisciplinary research teams, geneticists must be able to collaborate effectively with others in order to achieve a common aim.

What are some of the job roles that an aspiring geneticist can apply for?

Clinical Genomic Scientists examine patients’ DNA or RNA samples to identify genetic or genomic disorders like Cystic fibrosis or cancer.

Clinical Immunology Scientists analyze genetic-related aspects in the immune system like, immunodeficiency, autoimmune diseases, allergies, asthma etc.

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Plant Breeders (Geneticists) study seed characteristics and work towards improving plants characteristics by using their knowledge of genetic. They cross-bred varieties of plants to make disease free, drought, insect, and pest resistant crops.

Research Scientist generate scientific data by setting up experiments in controlled environments to understand the behaviour and influence of different genes.

Genetic Counsellors create awareness in families, especially couples planning to have children, about genetic diseases, the risks, how they can be managed.

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What sectors hire geneticists? 

Geneticists are required in diverse fields of genetics. These include –

  • Research Institutes
  • Agricultural Firms
  • Animal Breeding Industry
  • DNA Forensics Department
  • Hospitals
  • Genetical counselling consultancies
  • Pharmaceutical Industry & Suppliers
  • Universities

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Advancements in understanding science have led to the fact that Genetics plays an important role in all life processes. To uncover more mysteries, and answer many of the unanswered, geneticists are important.

By: Srinithya Ravinuthala

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