I. A.The construction of a geneticist follows a difficult path of education, preparation, and hard work.
VI.Interview -Attraction, Personal Insight
VII.Conclusion- Why I would or wouldn’t be a genetic engineer?
The construction of a geneticist is a person that follows a difficult path of education, preparation, and hard work. Geneticists along with all branches of Genetic Engineering have grown in numbers and importance over the last hundred years. Geneticists have accomplished things that Isaac Asimov and authors like him only dreamed about. What was science fiction then is science fact now, the cycle continues through this day. (Facklam 16) The genetic field will continue to grow until every aspect of life is perfect, but that will take quite a while.
Career Opportunities in Genetics are everywhere within the biological community. They may work in colleges and universities, research institutions, medical institution, and commercial enterprises of many kinds. Every work environment is unique, and categorizes overlap-but certain general trends exist. (Career Opportunities in Genetics 9)
Genetic Engineering has a long past and an even longer future, however, to enter the field a person must have a strong background in sciences and intensive training. Despite the controversy of Genetics, Courtney Sailes of the Genentech Inc. has accomplished such training. He is working in the biochemistry division and has an important impact people across the world.
Gregor Mendel is known as the father of Modern Genetics, however he was not the start of the long chain of genetic engineers. (Microsoft Encarta 98) Genetic engineers can be traced back to 6000 BC when Yeast was used to make beer by Sumerians and Babylonians. Before that the domestication of animals was the most complex example of genetic engineering. Today’s geneticists still work with animals and plants, however, instead of just studying them, they can create them. Geneticists also try to perfect and alter deficiencies to help solve problems in today’s world. Geneticists’ creation of bigger fruit, vegetables and vaccinations help people live everyday. Genetic Engineering may one day eliminate horrible genetic defects. (Facklam 79) Genetic Engineering is a science that can alter the ways in which we live, but not with out social and legal problems to solve as we go along. (Facklam sleeve)
The discovery of the structure of DNA resulted in an explosion of research in molecular biology and genetics, paving the way for the biotechnology revolution.
Genetic engineering became a reality when a man-made gene was used to manufacture a human protein in bacteria for the first time. Biotech companies and universities were off to the races, and the world will never be the same again. (Biotechnology Timeline 1977- Present)
Accomplishments done in part of genetic engineering have made the earth a better and safer place to live. Hybridization of rice and wheat has increased food output by more than 100%. (Encarta 98) Geneticist across the world are attempting to stop the spread of deadly cells strains, if there is a virus or bacteria there is a cure and a way to stop it.
The vaccination of polio, the cure for leprosy, and small pox all are possible due to the minds and wills of genetic engineers. On July 25, 1979, Louise Brown became the world’s first test-tube-baby, hailed by many as a biological breakthrough and condemned by other as a way for man to control and manipulate life. (Facklam 87)
The cloning of Dolly, the lamb, and other animals allows scientist to research cures for illness with little deviation in subjects. Almost all breakthroughs in the medical research field are directly related to genetic engineering. Geneticist play an important role in everything around us, they give us more than just better creations they give us a better understanding of life as we know it (C.O. in G. 14),
Geneticist is just a general title given to several occupations. Each specific occupation consists of it’s own environment, but share many common traits. Population Biology, Population Genetics, Evolution, Evolutionary Genetics, Sociology, Molecular Biology, Molecular Genetics, Agriculture, Plant Genetics, Biochemistry, Biochemical Genetics, Cytogenetics, Cytology, Medicine, Medical Genetics, Law, Neurobiology, Behavioral Genetics, Development Genetics, and Development Biology are such specifications. (1)
Many geneticists work in academic institutions in biological sciences departments, they divide their time into teaching and research. These geneticist joined by their students, often strive for the same discovery as part of the curriculum.
Generally the research goal is to better understand basic biological mechanisms at the frontiers of science, and often the answers cannot be predicted. (9) These research projects are long-term and may take several years to complete insuring job security.
Research institutions are mostly nonprofit organizations sponsored by private, federal or commercial agencies. In all of these cases, individuals tend to work within research teams ranging in sizes from two to twenty. Geneticists in a research institution have the advantage of pursuing exciting research of their own design, with a minimum of distracting obligations. (9)
Commercial enterprises give a specific objectives and guidelines to the geneticist. The accomplishments are directly seen in society. Pharmaceutical companies utilize molecular genetics to develop new medicines and vaccines; DNA cloning methods can use bacteria or yeast as factories to produce large amounts of the product of an isolated gene, such as insulin.
The recent techniques of genetic engineering are becoming a major part of industrial efforts. Some biotechnology companies specialize in this new methodology. The company’s administrators usually decide the project goals for the research team. Since these projects focus on short-term achievements. Geneticists in applied research programs can better predict their results than can geneticists in academia or research institutions. (10)
Agricultural companies integrate breeding programs and molecular biology in new and ingenious ways to improve crop plants. This produces higher yield and better quality of foods. Animal breeding companies are also trying the same ideas to create better livestock.
The benefit of genetics in conquering disease is utilized in the medical research institutions and hospitals.
Research projects are under the control and initiative of the team leader, and tend to be tightly coupled to the heath-care responsibilities of the group. In addition to carrying out research, the M.D. team members may also spend considerable time on medical care and clinical services. (12)
As exciting as the field is, only those who truly dedicated should chose to become a geneticist. Geneticists often work long hours, researching their project. However, the working conditions are often laid back and casual due to their involvement with chemicals. The environment is usually comfortable and relaxing for best performance from the researchers and scientists. (Sailes)
Pasteur, a world-renowned French chemist and biologist, that founded the science of microbiology said, “chance favors the prepared mind.” In order to be prepared you must go to school and take specific courses to become a geneticist. A geneticist must be prepared for every possible situation that may arise in their field.
During their high school years, a geneticist should take biology, chemistry, physics, and advanced mathematics. Once in college, a geneticist should take courses in all the sciences to solidify their understanding of their basic concepts. Specialization in genetics at the undergraduate level is unusual; it is more common to major in biology or biochemistry.
Chemistry and Biology are stressed in different fields for the maximum amount of knowledge. Two or three years of study are recommended for a Master’s degree. Except for entry-level salary;
$35,000 to $50,000 and benefits, a Master’s degree does not generally broaden the nature of laboratory job opportunities, in order to do truly independent research a Ph.D. or an M.D. is required. MD’s generally consist of four years of classes and clinical experience beyond the bachelor’s degree. A five-year study is needed after a Bachelor or Master’s degree to obtain a Ph.D. (C.O. in G. 14)
A person with a Ph.D. in any genetic field on average has a starting salary of $48,796 to $89,142 plus benefits. The education needed is based on a long and tiresome process. Along with the studying, most students take part in an apprenticeship ranging from $12,000 to $30,000 to help pay for college, and also acquire needed lab experience. A bio-organic chemist for example, must have at least a year of organic laboratory experience and at least one year of organic synthesis course work. A Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry is mandatory for most genetic positions. Geneticist use roughly 95% of the day applying there academically acquired knowledge. This also includes the sciences that they took during their high school years. (Sailes) For that reason it is important that geneticists understand their schooling.
Courtney Sailes a researcher at the bio-organic chemistry division of Genentech Inc. has involved most of his life in genetics. In high school he wanted to become a doctor and went to study at the College of Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. The close relation between a medical field and genetic engineering field was alarming and he decided to look into the organic chemistry course work. The idea of being able to develop a drug that will help fight human disease was the concept that captured his career search. He wishes that somebody advised him that to be a research associate you just need to “study hard, try to understand, ask a lot of questions, and be organized. Make sure not to get discouraged by compounds that don’t work, stay optimistic and look at the overall picture and the overall goal, keep trying.” (Interview- Sailes) The future of genetic engineering is looking good. There are many new jobs and areas that have not been touched yet. Clones for organ donning, increased crop production, disease vaccinations, and cures for the incurable all hold the key to the future of the common geneticist.
Why I would or would not want to be a Geneticist? I would want to be a geneticist because of their impact on society and the future of our lives. Geneticists make existing food products better and safer for the consumer. They allow people with a disease a new chance at life using vaccines and genetic screening. Soon geneticists will be able to fix defects before people are born, giving them a better chance to survive in the world. Being a geneticist could mean that I might discover the genes that allow people to change certain aspects about themselves. I could make someone’s eyes a different color with a simple injection. I could clone organs and limbs. The ability to clone organs and limbs is not that far off, all scientists need to learn is what environment an organ can naturally grow in. The ability to clone organs would slowly eliminate organ banks, the long search for organs and the powerful chemicals used to stop rejection of the new organs. The organs could be made and implanted in the individual; since the organ is really his own there would be little to no rejection of the organ. The process would save millions of people within just a few years. The ability to clone eyes or eye tissue could eliminate blindness. The ability to clone limbs would give hope to millions that are disabled. The possibilities are endless.
Along with the benefits there are negative sides of being a geneticist. Geneticists have to deal with the controversial “playing god issue.” There are countless numbers of regulations made to deter scientist from doing work with genetics. Along with political issues, mistakes and experiments can be deadly. While engineering a cure for the common cold a deadly virus could be created. Genetic screening could cause millions of deaths due to a miscalculation. Scientists currently do not know enough about living systems to perform DNA surgery without creating some mutations, which could be harmful to the environment and our health. Geneticists are experimenting with very delicate, yet powerful forces of nature, without full knowledge of the repercussions. A deadly species of animal could be accidentally created in a cloning experiment.
Despite the controversy and side effects of genetic engineering, I would like to become a geneticist. The genetic field covers more and more jobs every year, almost promising employment. The future for a geneticist is prodigious. It takes hard work, time, and patients to be a genetic engineer, but I believe it is worth it.
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“Biotechnology Timeline 1977- Present,” Access Excellence Genetech, 1998.
Career Opportunities in Genetics. Maryland: The Genetics Society of America
Administrative Office, 1997.