Geneticist  What They Do

Just the Facts

Geneticists Career Video

Insider Info

dotAdvances in genetics can yield benefits in several areas. It can serve as the basis for understanding how diseases are inherited and for counseling families at risk of producing children with genetic defects.

dotIn agriculture, it can help breed new, disease-resistant crops and livestock. The pharmaceutical industry can also use a greater understanding of our genetic make-up to develop better or even personalized drugs.

dotA geneticist's work touches all the above areas and more. Some of the questions these experts may try to find answers to in their research might be:

  • What aspects of behavior are inherited?
  • What controls the development of a flower?
  • What causes genetic diseases?
  • How is a murderer traced through blood samples?

dotGeneticists can work in several different environments. Some do basic research and teaching in a university setting. Others work in labs.

There are also geneticists who specialize in counseling patients, those at risk of hereditary diseases or those who want to make use of genetic technologies in some aspect of their lives.

You could also be a clinical geneticist. These are professionals with a medical background who use their genetic expertise in the hospital setting, for example.

dotGeneticists can work long and hard hours. "I usually arrive at work at 7:30 in the morning and leave at 6 p.m.," says geneticist Wenda Greer. "Often, I take work home as well and do it in the evenings and on weekends."

dotThis is not a physical job. Those who are confined to a wheelchair should still be able to pursue this career. What you need above all is a keen mind and a love for science.

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this career is about?Check out Just the Facts for simple lists of characteristics.

At a Glance

Study genetics for medical purposes and other scientific pursuits

  • This work can benefit medicine, agriculture and other fields
  • Geneticists can find work in research, public health, government labs or private commercial labs
  • There are many different educational paths