Mike Lo is a geneticist for the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). When I spoke to him about his interesting work, it soon became apparent that genetics was a complicated field of study.
As a geneticist, you can specialise in humans, animals or plants. In all three fields, there are broad applications, and you can work in either the research or commercial sector. The theory is the same, however, no matter which application you choose to specialise in.
If you’ve ever considered becoming an animal geneticist, you may want to keep two important things in mind. As you will see from the qualification requirements, a lot of your time will be dedicated to learning the finer details. If you enter the field of research, you can then expect to spend your whole career studying further and documenting new findings. If you choose the commercial route, you can make use of your unique knowledge in a professional manner.
Research generally involves documenting new findings, or experimenting with other research and technology to expand on the already vast amount of knowledge on genetics existing today.
One of the latest trends in genetics is considered to be somewhat contro-versial, namely, stem cell research, but some of the findings are beneficial to society at large. Perhaps, someday soon, they may discover the cure for cancer, thereby saving many lives.
The commercial sector often tends to be more clinical than anything else. It also requires a lot of research and lab time but, in most cases, the main difference is that the pay is usually better, and it is more competitive. Commercial applications often refer to very specific types of genetic tests, such as paternity testing.
In the case of animals, a good example of commercial application is the breeding of race horses. There’s big money