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Genetic Engineering

Gopakumar Karakonam
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I am a Plus Two science student and would like to know about the B.Tech. course in Genetic Engineering or related branches and the career prospects in the field. Also please let me know about the institutions that offer the course and the selection procedure.

VISHUMAYA

NEDUMANGAD

While choosing a discipline for doing the B.Tech. course, think critically about its wider job scope. Very few institutions offer the course 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 focusses 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. Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi are test centres. Visit www.srmuniv.ac.in for details.

Another private university, Bharath University, Selayur, Tambaram, Chennai – 600 073, offers a B.Tech. course in Genetics Engineering. Visit www.bharathuniv.ac.in for details. Selection is on the basis of a national-level entrance test.

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.

In Kerala

The Sri Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering and Technology, Pappanamcode, Thiruvananthapuram; Mohandas College of Engineering and Technology, Anad, Nedumangad; MET's School of Engineering, Mala, Thrissur; Sree Buddha College of Engineering , Nooranadu, Alappuzha; and Sahrdaya College of Engineering and Technology, Kodakara, Thrissur; offer B.Tech. courses in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering.

Admission to the merit seats in these colleges is based on the rank obtained in the State engineering entrance examination and marks in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in the Plus Two examination (www.cee-kerala.org).

B.Sc. Genetics

AWH Special College, Kallai, Kozhikode, affiliated to the University of Calicut, conducts a B.Sc. course in Genetics (Biotechnology and Biochemistry combination). The entry qualification is a pass in Plus Two with physics, chemistry and any other branch of life sciences.

The Padmashree Group of Institutions, Bangalore, affiliated to Bangalore University, offers a B.Sc. course in genetics (www.padashree.org).

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 – 21.

Osmania University, Hyderabad – 500 007.

Barkatullah Viswavidyalaya, Bhopal – 426 026.

Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana – 141 004

Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hissar – 125 004.

Rajendra Agricultural University, Samsthipur – 848 125.

Some of the universities that offer related courses are:

Department of Botany, University of Kerala, Karyavattom, Thiruvananthapuram: M.Sc. Genetics and Plant Breeding.

School of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras, Chepauk, Chennai: M.Sc. Biomedical Genetics.

Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT University), Vellore: M.Sc. Biomedical Genetics.

Andhra University, Visakhapatnam: M.Sc. Human 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.

Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi: M.Sc. Molecular and Human Genetics.

Some universities and research organisations offer research facilities in genetics and related areas.

A list of more universities that offer courses in Genetics can be collected from the University Handbook published by the Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi, which will be available for reference at the University Employment Information and Guidance Bureaux functioning under the universities in Kerala.

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.

Gopakumar Karakonam


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