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Genetic Technologist

Examine human chromosomes.

What does a Genetic Technologist do?

You can tell a lot from a person’s handshake, but you can tell even more from their genes. A Genetic Technologist analyzes the DNA and RNA that make up a person. When you’re a Genetic Technologist, the information you get from these human building blocks lets you do things like cure diseases, predict future medical problems, or find an organ donor match.

As a Genetic Technologist, you spend your days in a lab looking at the chromosomes found in different samples. Your samples might come from a person’s blood, bone marrow, tumor, or fetal sac. You take these samples and turn them into specimens that you can examine through a microscope. During examination, you look for things like a mutation in the gene that might indicate a genetic disorder, evidence of who a child’s parents are, or proof of a growing disease.

You then report the information you find to Doctors, who can use it to diagnose and treat illnesses. In the case of parental custody lawsuits, you report your findings to the authorities. With the information you find, families and Doctors can make major medical decisions and catch diseases early. You also help match organ donors and recipients by looking for evidence of compatible blood and tissue types, and any potential problems that might result in the rejection of the new organ.

Though most of what you find is used by Doctors, you can also help out with criminal cases. For example, you analyze blood or other genetic material left behind in the crime scene to identify or rule out suspects.