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Genes are the working parts of DNA, the chemical model that makes up humans, animals and other living organisms. The study of genetics and chromosomes aims to answer questions about how genes work as a group and individually, how their damage can cause disease, and how they can be changed or manipulated.
Geneticists working in a variety of areas can work towards diagnosing and treating diseases in all life-forms, developing drugs and therapies, improving crop yields and preserving the environment. Geneticists working in research fields want to understand how genes can be successfully modified, in order to prevent disease and become stronger in a particular way. Needless to say, it is an important job, regardless of which area is specialised in.
There are many areas of work in genetics, with the main fields including:
Tasks can involve extracting genes from different sources, analysing their chemical makeup and their properties. Generally, geneticists will all be involved in laboratory research, mathematical investigation, computer analysis and diagnostic work on humans or other life-forms. Please see the Specialisms for more information on the individual field-related tasks.
Demand for qualified entrants into the professions within genetics strong. Employers will generally be looking for graduates in genetics or a related field. There are a number of different employers that are looking for geneticists, including universities, hospitals, research institutions, government bodies and industry-specific companies.
Geneticists must be well-qualified and have a strong academic record in scientific fields. They will often work in laboratories, but depending on the specialism, they could be field-based.