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Becoming an Animal Geneticist

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The science of animal genetics is not new. Animal geneticists conduct research in the genetics, nutrition, reproduction, growth, and development of animals. Geneticists study the genetic composition of living organisms and try to explain how information is transmitted from one cell to another and from one generation to another. Genetics can be divided into the following fields:

Cytogenetics: It is the study of genes that occur on the genetic material of the organism. This genetic material (DNA) is present in the cell as chromosomes. The qualities of chromosomes and their behavior form the crux of Cytogenetics.

Molecular genetics: The scientists study the molecular nature and functioning of genetic material. It plays an important role in the medical, agricultural and industrial field.

Population genetics and plant and animal breeding: The study of genes on cellular level. This finds application in breeding plants and animals.

Research done in the field of animal genetics can lead to improvement in milk yield in dairy cattle and better ovulation rates. They also help in conservation of genes and investigate the genetic components of farm animal diseases like foot and mouth.

Animal geneticist studies on matters relevant to reproductive aspects, productivity, and disease resistant characteristics of the species. The role of animal genetics is particularly effective for improving the living conditions of animals.

If you have a bachelor's degree in the field of animal genetics and related fields from a reputed college and university, you will be considered eligible for a low profile job in the field of animal genetics. Concentrate on the science subjects, especially biology and life science, zoology, and botany right from the school level. Certification is available from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science or AALAS. Other than colleges, the technical schools are also available. Some of the laboratories provide the candidates with on the job training. For further research or to work in the capacity of a computational biologist, molecular bio-informatics, statistical geneticist, a master's degree and a PhD is required.

This field can avail you jobs as assistant laboratory animal technicians, laboratory animal technicians, laboratory animal technologists, teachers, and researcher. But it will depend upon your educational qualifications.

Any aspect of working in animal genetics requires an intelligent and studious approach. Knowledge and preferably experience of breeding, health, and management of specific farm animal species are recommended. The candidate for an animal geneticist job must be an expert in testing drugs and other substances. They are required to assist the senior scientists at the entry level, so they must be able to follow instructions. They should have oral and written skills to communicate and record data and present reports. As senior researchers, they should be team players as they will work with other fellow scientists. The working hours of the animal geneticist are at least 40 hours a week. They may have to work at nights and weekends to meet the demands of ongoing research, so they need to be fit and healthy.

Prior experience in related fields is helpful to bag a job as an animal geneticist. Some of the areas that you need to be experienced in are the human genome, defining hereditary risks, gene therapy, and foreseeing the reactions of particular medication. With experience, the experts in animal genetic engineering can become supervisors, animal breeders, research assistants, and senior researchers.

The diversity of career opportunities under this one heading is enormous. Candidates looking for jobs as a animal geneticist can seek for careers in the state agriculture institutions and veterinary universities. Other career prospects incorporate assistant professor, animal science agriculture scientist, technical officer, senior research fellow or SRF and junior research fellow or JRF in various laboratories and companies.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job prospects for the careers in the field of animal genetics are expected to increase steadily till 2014. In fact, the drug companies, research centers, and medical schools are increasingly employing animal geneticists for helping them in conducting research.

The average median salary of the animal geneticist who is specialized in genetic engineering is $7.86 on an hourly basis. This is accompanied with a host of other benefits such as paid holidays, health insurance, sick leave, retirement plans, etc. But this will depend on years of experience in the field, educational qualifications, job locale, employing organization, and many more.

The growing concern for animal welfare is leading to the demand for the animal geneticists. So this is a good career choice.
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