In general, geneticists are interested in inheritance of traits- the mechanisms of inheritance, how traits interact with the environment and how this process effects molecules, individuals and populations. As a career, people generally join a laboratory or become a genetic counselor in the medical field. There’s a wide range of applications. Is the field of genetics right for you?
Research is often at the cutting edge of any field. It gives you the freedom to pursue the questions that interest you most in your quest for scientific discovery. For example, you may have heard about scientists attempting to modify traits, like in GMO produce. Laboratories equipped with custom microarray also conduct experiments to determine the origins of inherited traits, or what the relationship is between certain traits and factors like fertility.
Genetics have made a huge comeback in medicine. Not only can you research genetic sources of disease, but you can use gene sequencing to practice preventative medicine, treat genetic disorders or predict outcomes. A genetic counselor is someone who works as a consultant or nurse working directly with patients or healthcare providers. One example would be genetic testing to determine the risk of inheriting or passing on genetic disorders.
This sector of genetics is closely related with research. Many professors and lecturers are also active researchers with labs at the university they are a part of. However, there is an added responsibility of passing knowledge on to the next generation of scientists by teaching classes and taking on graduate students. Academic faculty are often expected to publish scientific articles and book chapters, as well.
As our scientific understanding and technology progresses, genetics is becoming even more important in our understanding of ourselves and how we treat disease. It is an exciting field to be a part of with a plethora of opportunities. If you like science, genetics might be a career to consider.