Career in Genetic Engineering
Genetic Engineering Career
Genetic Engineering ( GE ) is an advanced branch of Science which involves a wide range of techniques used in changing the genetic material in the DNA code in a living organism. ‘Genetic Engineering’ means to deliberate modification of the characters of an organism by the manipulation of its Genetic Material.
Genetic Engineering comes under the broad heading of Biotechnology. There is a great scope in this field as the demand for Genetic Engineers are growing in India as well as abroad. Genetic Engineering aims to re – arrange the sequence of DNA in gene using artificial methods.
The work of a Genetic Engineer involves extracting the DNA out of one organism, changing it using chemicals or radiation and subsequently putting it back into the same or a different organism. For Example : Genes and segments of DNA from one species is taken and put into another species. They also study how traits and characteristics are transmitted through generations, and how genetic disorders are caused.
Their research involves researching the causes and discovering potential cures if any. Genetic Engineering have specializations related to plants, animals and human beings. Genetic engineering in plants and animals may be to improve certain natural characteristics of value, to increase resistance to disease or damage and to develop new characteristics etc. It is used to change the colour, size, texture etc of plants otherwise known as GM ( Genetically Modified ) foods.
GE in humans can be to correct severe hereditary defects by introducing normal genes into cells in place of missing or defective ones. A team headed by Ian Wilmut and his colleagues at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland made History when they produced a lamb named Dolly, an exact genetic copy or clone of a sheep.
This landmark discovery of the regeneration of an exact replica of a whole animal by transferring nuclei from the cells of that animal to unfertilized eggs of another animal, without the help of a male counterpart, has given researches a wide area open to be discovered. With this discovery, genetic engineering has become globally recognized.
Genetic Engineering Area of Specialization
Genetics Engineering comes under the broad area of biotechnology. The biotechnology industry depends on genetics to produce pharmaceutical products such as insulin and other medicines. In the medical field, genetics focuses on genetic diseases. It strives to understand the molecular basis of diseases and their cure. Genetic tests help in identifying culprits in criminal cases.
This field is a high – growth area that has thrown up several job opportunities. At present, most of the universities / institutes do not offer courses in genetic engineering as a separate discipline, but as a subsidiary to biotechnology, microbiology, biochemistry streams.
Genetic Engineering Eligibility and Courses
Educational : A qualified genetic engineer, must have a graduate / postgraduate degree in genetics or related fields such as biotechnology, molecular biology, microbiology or biochemistry or a doctorate ( PhD ) from a recognized university, based on 2 – 3 Years of his own research under the guidance of a professor / lecturer.
The basic eligibility criteria for a graduate degree ( BE / BTech ) is 10+2 or equivalent examination, with Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics as well as genetics as part of the biology or a bachelors degree in science or molecular biology. Most institutes do not offer courses in Genetic Engineering as a special discipline but as a subsidiary in biotechnology, micro – biology, biochemistry streams. Undergraduate and Postgraduate Courses in Biotechnology offer specialization in genetic engineering.
Selection to the graduate courses ( BE / BTech ) is based on merit i.e the marks secured in the final exams of 10+2 and through entrance exams. Entrance to the IIT’s is through JEE ( Joint Entrance Exam ) and for other institutions through their own separate entrance exams and other state level and national level exams. Apart from the IIT’s, some other famous institutes also recognize JEE scores for selection. Selection to the postgraduate courses ( MSc / MTech ) in different universities is through an All India Combined Entrance exam conducted by JNU, New Delhi and to IIT’s through GATE in 2 Year / 4 Semester MTech Courses and through JEE in 5 Year Integrated MTech Courses in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology.
Personal Attributes : To be a successful genetic engineer, one must have sharp analytical mind, an aptitude for research, high levels of concentration, eye for details, lively imagination, abundant physical stamina to put in long hours of work, ability to work as a team, moreover he should have a sound moral sense.
Genetic Engineering Job Prospects
There is an increasing demand for genetic engineers in India as well as abroad. Genetic engineers are mainly absorbed in medical and pharmaceutical industries, the agricultural sector, and the research and development departments of the government and private sectors. They can also take up teaching as an option. Besides Teaching, the main opportunities in genetic engineering employment avenue in this field lies in research in biotech laboratories, energy and environment – related industries, animal husbandry, agriculture and applied fields such as dairy farming and medicine.
Exciting work is being undertaken in this field all over the world and newer areas like epigenetics, the study of how environmental factors like diet, stress and maternal nutrition can change gene function without altering the DNA sequence are emerging in a big way.
A PG degree and beyond ( PhD ) in this field will certainly enhance your employment prospects. Genetic engineering is that wonderful science which enables the human minds to interfere in and modify the processes of life, birth death and even offers escape from certain congenital diseases.
Genetic Engineering involves developing hybrid varieties of plants, making a plant disease resistant by transferring genes from a plant that already has the characteristic, introducing Genetically Modified foods by changing the color, size, texture of the produce of plants such as fruits and vegetables. GE in humans can be to correct severe hereditary defects by introducing normal genes into cells in place of missing or defective ones.
In India, there are several sectors that employ genetic engineers. They are mainly absorbed in medical and pharmaceutical industries, agricultural sectors and the research and development departments of government, semi-government and private sectors. The pharmaceutical industry offers the best opportunities. To become a scientist or a genetic engineer, one should obtain a doctoral degree ( PhD ) in the relevant field.
The National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, the Centre for DNA Fingerprint and Diagnostics, Hyderabad; Biochemical Engineering Research and Process Development Centre, Chandigarh; the Institute of Genomic and Integrative Biology, Delhi, are some of the institutions that appoint genetic engineers and biotech scientists. There is an increasing demand for genetic engineers in India and abroad.
Remuneration – Genetic Engineers with a postgraduate degree can earn between 8,000/- to 12,000/- per month whereas those with doctoral degrees can earn up to 15,000/- to 25,000/- per month as a starting salary.
Genetic Engineering Qualification
i. Genetic Engineering Education Qualification Requirement : For the enrollment in undergraduate program, the eligibility is 10+2 from physics, chemistry and biology or any equivalent degree. Student who wants to get in this field should be graduated in a field of genetics, biotechnology, microbiology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, botany, zoology or any related fields. Most of the institutes do not provide genetic engineering as a major subject for UG or PG course but it can be studied under biotechnology, microbiology etc. Biotechnology provides specialization in this field.
ii. Personal attributes for Genetic Engineer : One must have an analytical approach, logical thinking and aptitude for research. A lot of physical and mental hard work is utilized in this field. It also demands very high expertise and skill with dedicated effort. The students who wish to make a career in this field should also gain specialization in laboratory work.
Institutes offering Genetic Engineering Courses
Most institutes do not offer courses in Genetic Engineering as a special discipline but as a subsidiary in Biotechnology, Microbiology, Biochemistry Streams. Genetics is offered at the under – graduate level, at Kakatiya University, Warangal and Osmania University Hyderabad, both in Andhra Pradesh.
Some of the universities which offer Genetic Engineering courses at postgraduate and doctorate levels are :
|The Indian Institute of Technology - IIT Madras,|
IIT Kharagpur ; ( http://www.iitkgp.ernet.in/jee. ).
|IIT Guwahati : http://www.iitg.ernet.in/jee.|
IIT Delhi : http://www.iitd.ernet.in/jee.
|University of Delhi, South Campus,|
New Delhi - 21.
Hyderabad - 500 007.
|Bharkathulla Vishwa Vidyalaya,
Bhopal - 462 026.
|Punjab Agricultural University,|
Ludhiana - 141 004.
|Chowdhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University,|
Hissar - 125 004.
|Rajendra Agricultural University, |
Samastipur - 848 125.
|Jawaharlal Nehru University,
Centre for Biotechnology,
New Delhi - 110 067.
|The University of Kerala ( Department of Botany ), |
Thiruvananthapuram - 695 581.
( M.Sc. Genetics and Plant Breeding )
|The School of Basic Medical Sciences, |
University of Madras,
Chennai - 600 005.
( M.Sc. Biomedical Genetics )
|The Vellore Institute of Technology ( Deemed University ), |
Vellore - 632 014.
( M.Sc. Biomedical Genetics )
Visakhapatanam - 530 003.
( M.Sc. Human Genetics )
|Gurunanak Dev University, |
Amritsar - 143 005.
( M.Sc. Human Genetics )
|Sri Rama Chandran Medical Coll ( Deemed University ),|
Chennai - 600 116.
( M.Sc. Human Genetics )
|Banaras Hindu University, |
Varanasi - 221 005.
( M.Sc. Molecular and Human Genetics )
|Madurai Kamraj University,
Madurai - 625 021.
( M.Sc. Plant Genetics Engineering, M.Sc. - Microbial Gene - Technology )
|Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women,|
Coimbatore - 641 043 ( Tamil Nadu ).
|Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology,|
Bhubaneswar - 751 003 ( Orissa ).
|All India Institute of Medical Sciences,
New Delhi - 110 029.
|Jawaharlal Nehru University||School of biotechnology||MSc and PhD||www.jnu.ac.in/sbt/|
|Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai||School of bioscience and bioengineering||MSc and PhD||http://www.iitb.ac.in/|
|Banasthali Vidyapeeth Banasthali, Rajasthan||Department of bioscience and biotechnology||BSc, MSc and Diploma||www.banasthali.org/|
|Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi||School of biotechnology||BSc, MSc and PhD||www.bhu.ac.in/|
|University of Calicut, Kerala||Department of biotechnology||BSc and MSc||http://www.universityofcalicut.info/|
|Visva - Bharti University, Santiniketan||Department of biotechnology||MSc and PhD||www.visva-bharati.ac.in/|
|SRM University, Tamil Nadu||Department of Genetic Engineering||BSc and MSc||www.srmuniv.ac.in/|
|University of Pune, Pune||Department of biotechnology||MSc and PhD||www.unipune.ac.in|
|Anna University, Chennai||Centre of biotechnology||MSc and PhD||www.annauniv.edu/|
|Sardar Patel University, Gujarat||Department of bioscience||MSc and PhD||www.spuvvn.edu/|
|Aligarh Muslim University||Department of biotechnology||MSc and PhD||www.amu.ac.in/|
Genetic Engineering Career Opportunities
Genetic engineering seems to have an immense potential due to its capacity to produce a range of valuable products which are virtually very important for humans. India particularly is doing very well in – this field. India has 12th rank worldwide for the destination of biotechnology and is third largest in Asia – Pacific region. Some business fields have also emerged out like :
- Biopharmaceuticals ( vaccines, therapeutics )
- Bioagriculture ( transgenic varieties, biofertilizers, biopesticides )
- Research and development
In India there are about 300 biotechnology companies like LifeCell International Pvt Ltd, Biocon, Biomax Fuels, Eli Lilly and Strides Arcolab which have huge opportunities for the students. Government organization also provides jobs to recruit genetic engineers with a high salary package. To further promote this sector, Indian government has taken some steps:
- Two MoUs ( bilateral agreement ) have been signed between Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services ( KBITS ) with Scottish Development International ( SDI ) and Georgia Department of Economic Development at Bangalore India Bio.
- 100% foreign equity investment is allowed in manufacturing of all drugs except recombinant DNA products and cell targeted therapies.
- On plant and machinery, the depreciation allowance has been raised up to 40%.
Some government organizations which recruit genetic engineers are :
- Nation Institute of Immunology New Delhi
- Centre for DNA Fingerprint and Diagnostics, Hyderabad
- Biochemical Engineering Research and Process Development Centre, Chandigarh
- Institute of Geonomic and Integrative Biology, Delhi
- Department of Biotechnology
Career in Genetic Engineering – Area of Specialisation – Eligibility & Course Areas – Educational – Job Prospects – Institutes offering Genetic Engineering Courses
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