Career in Genetic Engineering

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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 :

City Code No. CityCode No.
Bangaluru02 Jodhpur10
Bhopal03 Kolkata11
Bhubaneshwar 04 Mumbai12
Chandigarh05 Noida13
Chennai 06 Ranchi14
Delhi 07 Thiruvananthapuram15
1.Availability of Information Brochure cum TMCEE PG Prospectus & Application form from the college website or from the Office of the Principal, Tripura Medical College, Hapania, Agartala15th January, 2016
2.Last date of receipt of completed application form in the Office of the Principal, Tripura Medical College, Hapania, Agartala.30th January, 2016
3.Issue of TMCEE PG Medical Admit Card from the office of the Principal, Tripura Medical College, Hapania, Agartala ( to be collected in person )10th February, 2016
4.Written TMCEE PG Medical Entrance Test ( from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM )12th February, 2016 ( Friday )
5.Venue of the TMCEE PG Entrance TestTripura Medical College ( Academic Building ), Hapania, Agartala
6.Publication of result in College Notice Board & in the College websiteBy 15th February, 2016
7.1st round of TMCEE PG Counselling & AdmissionBy 10th April, 2016
8.Last date for joining the College and course17th April, 2016
9.2nd round of counseling for allotment of seat (s) from the waiting listBy 26th April, 2016
10.Last date for joining of candidate in allotted seats during 2nd round of counseling3rd May, 2016
11.3rd round of counselling for allotment of seat ( s ) from the waiting listBy 27th May, 2016
12.Last date for joining of candidate in allotted seats during 3rd round of counseling31st May, 2016
13.Commencement of academic session1st June, 2016

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 )
  • Bioinformatics
  • 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
  • CSIR
  • Department of Biotechnology
  • DST

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