Scope Of Genetic Engineering In India And Abroad
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Genetic Engineering has generated a lot of buzz over the past few years leading to a surge in the number of Indian students who are keen on pursuing this field as a career. If you are one among them, it is important to be well informed about this field before you plunge into it for good. This article explains the following topics in-depth.
- What is Genetic Engineering all about?
- Who can pursue this course?
- What are the various career options available in this field?
- List of universities and research centers in India
- Scope in India and abroad
- Useful links
What is Genetic Engineering all about?
Genetic Engineering is the manipulation of an organism's genome for advancing healthcare, medicine, agriculture, to name a few. Genetic engineering techniques involves introducing a foreign DNA into an organism’s genome with the hope of altering it’s biological and chemical properties for accomplishing tasks such as treating diseases, producing higher quality and economical agricultural yields, advancing healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry.
Many students get confused between Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering. You can consider Genetic Engineering to be a subset of Biotechnology and students can specialize in Genetic Engineering while doing their undergraduate degree in Biotechnology.
Career options in this field
Since Genetic Engineering is a highly research oriented field, a PhD degree is imperative if you want to climb up the ladder at work. PhD graduates usually go on to do their postdoctoral training and join university as professors or enter industry as research scientists. Students with just an undergraduate or masters degree can only work as research assistants or at best as lab managers. They cannot do independent research projects, lead a team of researchers or start their own lab. In short, if you are keen on making a name for yourself in this field, be prepared to do your PhD.
Genetic Engineering scientists and researchers usually find jobs in the research labs of universities and research institutions. Some even join the R&D section of biotech industries. Students with M.Tech or MSc degree in Genetic Engineering or Biotechnology with specialization in Genetic Engineering can find jobs in biotech and pharma companies or join universities as research assistants. Some universities in India also hire MTech/MSc students as lecturers.
Universities that offer Genetic Engineering courses in India:
Very few universities in India offer Genetic Engineering courses and they are as follows
- SRM University [B.Tech, M.Tech and PhD in Genetic Engineering]
- Bharath University, Chennai [M.Tech in Genetic Engineering]
- Aryabhatta Knowledge University, Patna [B.Tech and MTech in Genetic Engineering]
Most universities offer Genetic Engineering as a specialization within a broader field such as Biotechnology or Biological Sciences. Students usually pursue a degree in Biotechnology/Biology and specialize in genetic engineering for their research projects. This is how it works at all levels, be it BTech, MSc/MTech or PhD.
Genetic Engineering must not be confused with Genetics course offered by various universities at the BSc/MSc level. The genetics course is pure sciences based and involves the study of pure genetics and not genetic engineering methods and techniques.
Note: Considering that Genetic Engineering is still developing in India, it is important that students get their degrees from well reputed and recognized universities. A good university helps immensely when it comes to placements, job opportunities and higher studies. The university must have decent lab facilities at the least.
Genetic Engineering courses offered abroad
The same scenario persists abroad as well. If you want to pursue this field abroad, then you will have to enroll in a Genetics course or in a Biological sciences/Biomedical Sciences/Biotechnology course where you will be studying Genetic Engineering techniques as a specialization.
List of Genetic Engineering research centers in India:
The following institutes and research organizations do high quality research work in genetic engineering and allied areas:
- ICGEB, New Delhi
- JNCASR, Bangalore
- RGCB, Thirvananthapuram
- IGIB, Delhi
- TIFR, Mumbai
- IISc, Bangalore
- NII, Delhi
- IIT Biotechnology departments
- MSSRF, Chennai
- CCMB, Hyderabad
- NCCS, Pune
- AU-KBC Research Centre
Who can pursue this course?
All students with backgrounds in Biotechnology, Biological sciences etc. are eligible to apply for Genetic Engineering courses at the graduate level such as MSc, MTech and PhD. Since genetic engineering is not offered as a standalone program, most students pursue higher studies in Biotechnology, Biological Sciences etc. and specialize in Genetic Engineering.
If your undergraduate field is not related to genetic engineering/biotech/biology, you can always try doing projects or work for a year or two in a genetics or biotech lab before applying for higher studies. Many students have managed to get admitted abroad by this process. However, in India, the eligibility criteria for biotechnology and genetics courses are quite rigid and you may have to contact the university’s graduate coordinator for more information on their eligibility criteria.
How to prepare for a career in this field?
If your goal is to pursue a research career in Genetic Engineering, then your best bet would be to complete your undergraduate degree and pursue masters course in a reputed university in India or abroad. For Indian universities, all you need is the GATE/JAM scores. For universities abroad, your GPA, GRE/TOEFL scores and research projects are very important. For this purpose, start doing projects under a professor in your department or in other universities/research institutions. Doing summer internships in prestigious research organizations such as TIFR, IISc etc. will not only help enhance your research skills but will also make you a likely candidate for scholarships and funding for masters/phd programs abroad.
Scope in India and abroad
Genetic Engineering is still in the development stage in India. The past few years have seen a significant increase in the allocation of grants and funding for genetic engineering research and development and quite a number of scientific institutions such as the IISERs etc have been established by the Indian government. There is definitely a lot of momentum in this space but the opportunities are not as good as abroad. Also, job opportunities are not as high as IT and software fields.
USA, UK, Europe, Canada are doing very well in genetic engineering research. USA and UK are at the forefront of research in genetic engineering. If your goal is to pursue groundbreaking research in this field and publish high quality papers and research articles, then your best bet would be pursue your higher studies and find jobs in any one of these countries.
Journals: Some of the most popular journals for genetic engineering are Nature, Science, Cell and ScienceDirect. For free journal papers, head on to pubmed.com and google.scholar.com.
Forums: Do you have questions about your projects, assignments or research ideas? Check out the following forums for discussions on a broad range of scientific fields, including genetic engineering: Biotechnology forums, Molecular Biology forums ,Protocol online, Science careers, Science forums, and Physics forums . For all questions related to graduate school applications, please refer to gradcafe.com.
Latest news and articles: If you want to keep yourself up to date with the latest research happenings and breakthroughs in this field, please read ScienceDirect, Nature, Science Daily, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology news, Scientific American and The Scientist.