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Updated: June 18, 2012 17:32 IST

Genetics emerging as key area of study

Gopakumar Karakonam
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BRIGHT FUTURE: The biotechnology industry depends on genetics to produce pharmaceutical products, such as insulin and medicines. In the medical field, genetics focuses on diseases, striving to understand the molecular basis of diseases and their cure.
The Hindu BRIGHT FUTURE: The biotechnology industry depends on genetics to produce pharmaceutical products, such as insulin and medicines. In the medical field, genetics focuses on diseases, striving to understand the molecular basis of diseases and their cure.

Those aspiring to study Genetics or Genetic Engineering should have studied Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology at the Plus Two level

With Genetics emerging as a key area of study students are keen to understand the subject and its scope for employment.

Though Genetics has been a field of study at the post graduation level very few institutions offer B.Tech in Genetic Engineering, and it is not a mainstream programme. Genetic Engineering involves the scientific process by which the genetic make-up of an organism is manipulated by introducing or eliminating specific genes.

Those aspiring to study Genetics or Genetic Engineering should have studied Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology at the Plus Two level. Genetics comes under the broad area of biotechnology. The biotechnology industry depends on genetics to produce pharmaceutical products, such as insulin and medicines.

In the medical field, genetics focuses on diseases, striving to understand the molecular basis of diseases and their cure.

Biotechnology plays a major role in industrial production, especially in biochemical engineering. It involves the integration of many branches of biology, such as microbiology, biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology, with chemical and systems engineering. Most universities offer genetics not as a separate discipline but as a subsidiary in the biotechnology, microbiology and biochemistry streams.

At the B.Tech. level, Genetic Engineering courses are rare. Instead, students can opt for the B.Tech. course in Biotechnology or Biochemical Engineering. Another option is to do a B.Sc. course in Genetics, Biological Sciences, Life Sciences or Biotechnology and then do a postgraduate course in Genetics.

SRM University, a private university in Chennai, offers a B.Tech. course in Genetic Engineering on its Ramapuram campus.

Those who have passed Plus Two with at least 70 per cent marks in aggregate in mathematics or biology, physics and chemistry are eligible for admission. Selection is through a national-level entrance test. Visit www.srmuniv.ac.in for details.

IITs

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) do not offer a B.Tech. course in Genetic Engineering. Instead, Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering programmes are offered.

IIT, Madras conducts B.Tech. and five-year dual-degree M.Tech. programmes in Biotechnology. Visit http://jee.iitm.ac.in or www.iitm.ac.in for details.

IIT, Kharagpur offers B.Tech. and five-year dual-degree M.Tech. courses in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering (www.iitkgp.ernet.in/jee).

IIT, Guwahati offers a B.Tech. course in Biotechnology (www.iitg.ernet.in/jee).

IIT, Delhi offers five-year dual-degree M.Tech. courses in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology (www.iitd.ernet.in/jee).

IIT, Roorkee offers a B.Tech. course in Biotechnology (www.iitr.ac.in/jee).

Admission to these programmes has so far been through the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) of the IITs, but change seems to be in the offing.

SASTRA University, Thanjavur, offers a B.Tech. course in Bioengineering and biotechnology (www.sastra.edu).

The Institute of Bioinformatics and Biotechnology of the University of Pune offers integrated M.Sc. and M.Tech. programmes in Biotechnology.

Selection is based on an entrance test. Visit www.unipune.ernet.in/ibb or www.unipune.ac.in for details.

Graduates in biological sciences, life sciences or biotechnology and related courses can take up postgraduate programmes in Genetics. Some of the universities that offer the M.Sc. course in Genetics are:

University of Delhi, South Campus, New Delhi; Osmania University, Hyderabad; Barkatullah Viswavidyalaya, Bhopal; Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana; Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hissar and Rajendra Agricultural University, Samsthipur.

Some of the universities that offer related courses are:

Andhra University, Visakhapatnam: M.Sc. Human Genetics; University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram: M.Sc. Genetics and Plant Breeding; University of Madras, Chepauk, Chennai: M.Sc. Biomedical Genetics; Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT University), Vellore: M.Sc. Biomedical Genetics; Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar: M.Sc. Human Genetics; Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Porur, Chennai: M.Sc. Human Genetics; Central University of Kerala, Kasaragod: M.Sc. Genomic Science (www.cuk.edu.in); Madurai Kamaraj University, Palkalai Nagar, Madurai: M.Sc. Plant Genetics Engineering and Microbial Gene technology and Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi: M.Sc. Molecular and Human Genetics.

Career prospects

To become a scientist, take a doctoral degree in the relevant field. Job opportunities exist in research and development organisations, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology industries, academic institutions and so on.

The National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi; the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad; the Biochemical Engineering Research and Process Development Centre, Chandigarh; and the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, are some of the institutions that appoint genetic engineers.

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