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Animal Geneticist

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Unravel the mystery of animal genes.

What does an Animal Geneticist do?

As the job title suggests, Animal Geneticists study animals. But in contrast to those Animal Scientists who observe behavior, Animal Geneticists analyze the genetic makeup of animals to discover which genes cause them to act certain ways, be immune to specific diseases, or fail to thrive in certain environments.

One common area of study is animal pharmacology (drugs for animals). Animal Geneticists often work for companies that pour a lot of money into researching animal diseases so that they can create new medications to treat them. In this role, you might study genetic diseases pertaining to the heart, lungs, or joints, similar to cancer research for humans.

Typically, you specialize in one area of study, such as reproduction or disease prevention. Or you concentrate on one type of animal. Regardless of where you specialize, the scientific process is the same.

You collect samples, isolate individual genes, identify the characteristics of that gene, and carefully record your results. Then you compare the genetic results of one animal or species against another to gain a more complete understanding of how the gene affects reproduction or growth.

Then the fun begins because you relate that information to real-world applications. Say, for example, you discover genes that relate to particular mating rituals. This information could help the reproductive efforts for endangered species. This is because, when you’re able to identify the parental lineage of an animal, it helps Scientists understand whether the animal mates for life, what each sex’s role is in the parenting, and what environments allow for natural mating to occur.

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