MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: What classes would be essential for a career in genetic engineering?

Date: Mon Apr 12 10:25:52 1999
Posted By: Shirley Chan, Ph.D.
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 923413657.Ge

Well, if you're interested in "genetics," there are general courses you should take. Concentrate on the life science courses--biology, biochemistry. Many colleges and universities offered more specific courses as well--genetics, molecular biology, development. Since the field has expanded so much, you can be very selective in the type of genetic system you wish to study--plants, fruit flies, C. elegans, mammalian (mice, humans) etc. Also, there are many new careers that require basic genetics and molecular biology. If you're interested in computers as well as biology, you may wish to consider bioinformatics. All the genomic information being compiled by various genome sequencing projects have to be analyzed, and computers will play a big part in this. Another option is genetic counselling/education. Go where you interests lie.

If you want to do research, then you really, really should do an internship or an undergraduate research project in a lab. I can't emphasize this enough. Graduate school/research is not for everyone, make sure you know what you're getting into.

Government agencies like the National Institute of Health (NIH), have funds set up for summer studentships, (high school and college level). Some research labs (facilities) will have programs and funds for high school interns as well. For example, Cold Spring Harbor has a Partners for the Future program for high school students and an undergraduate program for college level students. You should investigate opportunities at your local college/university.

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