Genetics Career – Scope, Job Profiles, Salary & Skills Required
We always come across comments from our family members or friends that he/she resembles his/her parents such as hair color, eye color, etc. Sometimes we observe that some of our habits also resemble our parents or forefathers. It is also common that during treatment physicians always try to find out whether the ancestor like parents or forefathers etc. of the patient has suffered any time from such diseases so that the physician can easily diagnose on the basis of the inheritance of the disease and start treatment accordingly.
Intermittently we hear the news about inventions in life sciences for the benefit of mankind. The invention may be relating to insecticide or herbicide-resistant plant varieties development; induced increase nutrient contents in vegetables or fruit, etc. besides diagnosis of birth defects or diseases. All these inventions are possible due to Genetic Engineering.
The study of Genetics has not only made us understand why we all are having different physical characteristics (such as hair, eye color, height, etc); as to why we resemble our parents but has also resulted in elevating the science to a level beyond our imagination.
All these types of inventions in life science, as well as hereditary habits, etc, is scientifically due to Genetics.
The word GENETICS is derived from the ancient Greek word “Genetikos” which means genitive/generative. GENETIC/GENESIS means origin or mode of formation of something.
The study of Genetic science expressed how living things inherit the characteristics, inherited properties or features of an organism. A genetically determined characteristic of an organism is called a “trait”. These traits are described by the genetic information carried by a molecule called DNA. Therefore Genetics is defined as the study of heredity and the variation of inherited characteristics, the genetic properties or features of an organism. It is broadly called “Science of Heredity”
The scientist who studies genetics is called a Geneticist.
Gregor Mendel, a late 19th-century scientist, Augustinian friar is called the father of genetics.
For the convenience of discussion on scope and significance of genetics we can classify it in the following three areas:
(i) Transmission genetics involves the study transmission of genetic material from one generation to another, i.e., commonly called heredity.
(ii) Molecular and Biochemical genetics necessitates the study of structure and functioning of the genes.
(iii) Population and Biometrical genetics, this includes the behavior and effect of genes in population.
All three classifications are interrelated. Across the entire spectrum of life on the earth, the genetic material containing the information for hereditary traits consists of nucleic acid only. Deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA) and Ribose nucleic acid (RNA) are the most important types of nucleic acid.
The Science of Genetics has spread throughout all aspects of biology during the last few decades and it has positioned itself in the central position of great significance in biological science. This invasion of genetics in biology has not only opened the scope in the mechanism of heredity and variation but also extends its area for the study of fundamental biological processes like biochemistry, microbiology, plant physiology, plant pathology, ecology, etc. When the fundamentals of genetics are applied in engineering then it is referred to as Genetic Engineering. Therefore, genetics has a great influence on industrial areas like medicine, agriculture, fisheries, forests, etc. The recent increase of biotechnology study has further upsurge the significance of genetics science.
The sequence and edit of the genome are now possible and the invention of new CRISPR technology, a most powerful gene-editing tool is a result of genetic engineering. All these latest inventions have encouraged and attracted students to pursue their careers in genetic engineering but still, most of the students are unaware of their future prospects in this field due to lack of information and proper guidance.
This article provides a brief highlight of Genetics Career scope, job prospects, companies, etc in the field of genetics.
Nowadays, in India Genetics courses are quite popular. Most of the educational institutions have already introduced courses in microbiology, biotechnology, cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry in bachelor’s degree and master’s degree courses. These institutions have also facilities for further higher education of Doctoral and Postdoctoral education. For admission for bachelor or master degree courses in this field of science some colleges or universities conduct aptitude tests and allow admission on the basis of merit list of the qualifying examination. For example, AIEEE, JEE-IIT GATE/JAM are the exams for admission in these courses.
Availability of various courses on genetic studies in different institutions is mentioned hereunder:
- Bachelor of Science in Genetics (B.Sc. (Genetics))
- Bachelor of Science Honors in Genetics (B.Sc (Hons.) Genetics)
- Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Genetics, Microbiology & Chemistry
- Master of Philosophy in Genetics (M. Phil.(Genetics))
- Master of Science in Genetics (M.Sc.(Genetics))
- Master of Science Honors in Genetics (M.Sc (Hons.) Genetics)
- Master of Science (MSc) in Applied Genetics
- Master of Science (M.Sc) in Biomedical Genetics
- Master of Science (M.Sc) in Human Genetics
- Master of Science (M.Sc) in Molecular Biology and Human Genetics
- Master of Science (M.Sc) in Microbial Genetics and Bioinformatics
- Master of Science (M.Sc) in Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering
- Doctor of Philosophy in Genetics (Ph.D. (Genetics)
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Human Genetics
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Molecular and Human Genetics
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Human Genetic Engineering
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering
Some of the specialized fields of Genetics are:
- Quantitative Genetics
- Ecological Genetics
- Population Genetics
- Human genetics
- Medical genetics
- Conservation Genetics
- Classical Genetics
- Molecular Genetics
Career & Jobs In Genetics Field
- There is a curiosity amongst Students pursuing these courses of science on their future career, particularly Good Geneticists who have a passion & strong desire relating to the genetic basis of health and disease.
- If you want to be successful at the job, you must have patience, good communication skills & perseverance.
- Those students who are interested to make their career in genetics should consider science and mathematics as possible subjects in high school and college.
- Candidates with Master’s degrees in any area of genetics can get the desired job in this field, however, Masters candidates with some amount of experience as an internship or work & Ph.D. candidates are mostly preferred and the rate of hire is pretty high.
- Practical, Hands-On-Knowledge acquired through some internship or mini-projects in the Labs may increase your chances of getting a genetics related job to up to 80%.
- Get well versed with all the techniques used in the field, rest assured once you do this – that desired job of yours is not far away.
- If you can get an opportunity for some work experience within the industry as well as academia so you can compare the two and decide which you prefer.
- Temporary – short-term work within a healthcare environment, eg – hospital, may also prove useful in helping you explore career ideas.
- You might decide to do some volunteering with organizations that specialize in researching genetic conditions or supporting people with inherited disorders.
Specific Skills Required To Be A Geneticist :
Do not forget to acquire these skills and mention in your CV:
- Analysis & Interpretation of Scientific data
- Numerical Analysis & Computational skills
- Well versed in All genetics analytical methods
- Up to date knowledge on the latest happenings in the industry – including legal & ethical topics
- Logical thinking & Problem-solving ability
are to list a few. While the list is not limited only to these skills but does hold great value in terms of being hired.
Sectors Where One Can Get Hired As a Geneticist:
A list of some employment area where you may get the opportunity to work after studying genetics course is furnished below:
- DNA Forensics Department
- Pharmaceutical Industry & Suppliers
- Agricultural Firms
- Research Institutes
- Animal Breeding Industry
- Food and drink companies
- Health and beauty care industry
List of Research Institutes In India Where One Can Apply For Genetics Jobs / Genetics Career:
- Tata Institute for Genetics
- TIFR & Many Many More
Some of the Job Profiles are:
- Clinical molecular geneticist
- Clinical scientist, genomics
- Clinical scientist, immunology
- Genetic counselor
- Plant breeder/geneticist
- Research scientist (life sciences)
- Assistant Professor
- Genetics Laboratory Technician
- Regulatory Process Manager
- Scientific Writing
The job opportunity for a genetics degree holder is continuing to expand. The genetic employers are not sufficient now, that’s why the demand of professionals in the field of genetics continues to increase. Geneticists can work in various capacities for different types of employers. While the Salary offered in Genetics Career differs from Individual, company, location, experience & various other factors – But the average salary currently being offered in the genetics field ranges from Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000/- pm in India.
- For Fresher Candidates with Bachelors Degree in Genetics – Average Salary is Rs 20,000/- pm
- For Fresher Candidates with Masters Degree in Genetics – Average Salary is Rs 28,000/- pm
- Candidates with 2-3 years of experience in the filed – Average Salary is Rs 45,000/- pm
Author: Dr. Priyanka Sen Guha