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Plant Geneticist

 

Overview

Plant geneticist conduct research to understand, improve or create new varieties of plants or crops. Looking at a plant’s DNA they can examine ways to improve shape, size, production level, pesticide and disease tolerance.

 

plant geneticist

 

What responsibilities will I have?

  • Write research plans and objectives
  • Create budgets for research projects and seek funding (typically in a university setting)
  • Cross breed plants to breed new subjects for trials and to build up a seed bank
  • Record data on plants in trials
  • Identify genes that are responsible for certain plant features and functions
  • Stay up to date on research being done elsewhere through journals and periodicals
  • Tend to trials grown both in greenhouses and fields
  • Maintain thorough records of research conducted
  • Look for ways to genetically engineer crops that are higher yielding, healthier, disease and pest resistant or a number of other characteristics
  • In a college or university setting may be asked to teach graduate and undergraduate courses related to plant genetics, plant breeding etc.
  • Serve as a liaison and spokesperson for government and industry as needed
  • Supervise the work of field and laboratory workers
  • Prepare and publish reports on research conducted

 

What education and training is required?

A bachelor’s degree in biology, botany or biochemistry. Depending upon the employer and nature of the job a master’s degree or doctorate (especially if doing research or teaching) may be required.

 

To pursue a career as a plant geneticist:

The following high school courses are recommended:  agricultural education, a focus on sciences, chemistry and biology, and mathematics.   

 

Where can I work?

Plant geneticists can work for agricultural seed and chemical companies. Some also work in the university setting conducting research and teaching. There is also opportunity to work in the non-profit sector conducting research to benefit those in areas where it is difficult to grow plants and crops.

 

Future Job Market / Outlook

The job outlook for plant geneticist will be good over the next five years.  

 

Suggested Professional Organizations and Associations

  • American Society of Plant Biologists
  • Global Plant Council
  • American Society of Agronomy
  • Bio-tech Industry Association