- Research and use genetics to improve knowledge or for applications in medicine, crops and other areas
- You'll develop specific scientific knowledge and skills, and the ability to research and develop techniques
- Combines lab-work with data analysis and report writing
Geneticists use the information in genes to make discoveries and developments in a range of areas like medicine and agriculture.
Depending on the area you work in, your role could include:
- Developing disease and drought-resistant crops
- Finding and recording disease-causing genes
- Using genes to chart animal populations and conserve wildlife
- Researching and developing new drugs and gene therapies
- Using genetics in archaeology
- Teaching students about genetics in a university
- Diagnosing genetic diseases
Your day-to-day duties could include:
- Using laboratory techniques to prepare and analyse samples of genetic tissue
- Recording and interpreting the results of experiments and tests
- Using data and statistics to develop computer models of genes
- Writing reports for other professionals
- Reporting and publishing your findings in scientific papers
- Planning lectures and teaching students
- Supervising, training and mentoring other laboratory staff
You could work at a university, in a laboratory or at a research facility. You may need to wear protective clothing.
To be a geneticist, you'll need knowledge of biology, excellent verbal communication skills, science skills, thoroughness and attention to detail, thinking and reasoning skills, maths knowledge, analytical thinking skills, the ability to read English, and basic computer skills.
You'll usually need a degree or a postgraduate master's qualification in genetics, or a related subject which covers genetics, such as biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, life sciences or biological sciences.
Employers may expect you to have, or be working towards, a PhD. Integrated master's qualifications such as MBiolSci, MBiol or Msci can be studied at university, and these courses combine independent research and can lead directly onto study for a PhD.
You may improve your career prospects by joining a professional body like The Genetics Society.
As a research geneticist, with experience you may be able to work your way up to laboratory supervisor or clinical study manager. Lecturing in a university or teaching may also be an option. You could move into scientific sales or, with further studies, qualify as a genetic counsellor.