What is genetics?
Genetics is the part of biology that looks at the science behind genes. Genes are the pieces of code that are passed from one generation to the next. This line of work is predominantly focused around research and development within the medical field.
The aim of this branch of medical science is to ascertain variations in living organisms that result from specific pieces of genetic code. These pieces of information can then be used to alter this code in order to create different variations of the same organism.
Scientists, doctors, or academics that focus on genetics are called geneticists. This area of science is particularly useful to medicine and medical sciences, because if we are able to isolate the genes that pass on specific conditions or syndromes then we may be able to provide appropriate treatments that can prolong the length and quality of people’s lives. A graduate job in this field could have you quite literally influencing the future of humanity...
What qualities do geneticists need?
The term geneticist encapsulates a number of diverse positions; from doctors who look after patients with hereditary conditions, to academics who lecture on this subject. So although as a geneticist you may be spending most of your time working in a laboratory, this will not always be the case.
Many geneticists need the ability to express complex ideas in an understandable and comprehensive manner. They may be explaining the effects of genetic treatments to people who may be scared or apprehensive. Consequently, these guys need to be honest, reassuring and friendly when dealing with people.
There is enough variety within this area of work to cater for a variety of personality types, so whether you are a people person who likes working in teams, or you prefer to work on your own, there will be something for you.
The media often portrays the work of geneticists as controversial and, although it has been in some instances, it is important to remember that it really is just another branch of mainstream science.
So, if you have a passion for biological sciences and would like to work on the cutting edge of progressive medical science, then a career in the exciting world of genetics could be right for you. Check out the occupational profile of a clinical molecular geneticist to find out more about this exciting subsector!