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What do Geneticists do?

Agriculture - Plant and Animal Breeding

Genetic engineering, and genome mapping offers new opportunities in the control of diseases, increasing crop yield, producing pest resistant or drought resistant crops.


Requires a background in both computing and biology. This is a new science which is developing methods to extract information from the genomes by data analysis, modeling and statistics. This information will revolutionise the way drugs, antibiotics and pesticides are designed and applied.


The aim of the Human Genome Project is to locate and sequence the thousands of genes in the human genome. This has opened up many amazing new possibilities for locating genes that cause disease, drug discovery, drug testing and production of new therapies.

Bioscience Business

There are opportunities in the agricultural, biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies for those with a solid background in genetics to work in management, administration, marketing, reporting/writing, sales and public relations.


Genetics can be used for identification and protection of wildlife species. The use of genetic markers allows us to looks at population structure in rare, and endangered, organisms in order to make sensible decisions on their conservation, rather than relying on guesswork. Also, it is now possible to produce micro-organisms, using genetic methods, which can mop up pollution and tell us which pollutants are present ("called "biosensors")

Forensic Science

Forensic scientists now routinely use DNA methods not only to identify suspects, but also to eliminate the innocent.

History and Archaeology

Since DNA in tiny amounts now can be analysed, the small amounts of preserved tissue found on bones at archaeological sites can be used to reconstruct the past. Genetics can also be used to study a population and their migration patterns.


Lawyers and patent bodies are seeking those with the necessary knowledge of genetics and biotechnology for determining intellectual property, and dealing with ethical and legal issues and cases associated with genetics such as uses of the human genome data. 

Medical Genetics

There are opportunities to work within the health service as a cytogeneticist, molecular and biochemical geneticist, genetic nurse, genetic counsellor or clinical geneticist. Depending on the particular position, the work can be purely laboratory based or directly involved in patient care or both. Research and clinical tests can focus on examination of abnormal chromosomes, finding possible genetic mutations and tracing the inheritance of a genetic disease. For more information on careers in clinical genetics check out http://www.bsgm.org.uk/information-education/careers-in-genetics/