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Genetic Scientists

Work Environment

Genetic scientists spend most of their time in laboratories, designing and conducting research experiments. Most of these experiments will take many hours and yield few publishable results. But while breakthrough discoveries occur rarely and often involve hours of repetitive work, they can result in patents and significant royalties, not to mention the payoff of lives saved or diseases eliminated. Even small discoveries in the genetics field add to biological knowledge and can often lead to elimination of disease. Genetic scientists also spend considerable time writing reports about their experiments, lecturing or teaching about their research, and preparing grant proposals to federal or private agencies to secure funding to support their research. Because federal grants are extremely competitive, only the best-written and most scientifically up-to-date proposals will receive funding. Therefore, genetic scientists must keep improving their skills and knowledge throughout their careers to keep up with new developments in the field and to advance their own research. Usually, geneticists work as part of a research team, cooperating on various aspects of their experiments. Geneticists often head up teams of researchers, graduate students, and laboratory personnel. They may work from nine to five, although they may be required to work late into the night and on weekends during critical periods of an experiment. They may also work extra hours to complete research projects, to write reports of findings, or to read the latest developments in their specialty. Like other life scientists, geneticists must study throughout their careers to keep up with new developments in the field and to advance their own research.

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