Why Choose Genetics?

Genetics as an evolving field of science

Ever since the rediscovery of Mendel’s principles early in the 20th Century, advances in the field of genetics have provided fuel for progress in the biomedical sciences and agriculture. Genetic technologies have also advanced our understanding of evolution and made us aware of the importance of genetic diversity to species survival. Procedures have been developed that allow scientists to clone, sequence, mutate, express and even synthesize genes and move them from one organism to another. These technologies are used routinely for the production of life-saving drugs and industrial enzymes. Transgenic animals and plants are subjects for research into the nature of genetic diseases and enhanced food production.

As a sub-discipline of genetics, genomics not only is concerned with the sequencing and analysis of entire genomes, but also has extended to the development of new concepts and techniques that can be applied to observe changes in the expression and function of all the genes in individual cells and entire organisms. The many complex genetic processes that now can be elucidated through genomic techniques include the expression of genes during processes such as tissue and organ development, the conversion of normal cells into tumor cells, the response of cells to viral and bacterial infections or treatments with therapeutic and non-therapeutic drugs, and the exposure of cells and organisms to natural environmental agents as well as man-made pollutants.

Genetics as a Career Choice

The exponentially increasing pace of new developments in the field and the enormity of their scientific, economic, environmental and social impact has created a high demand by industry, academia, and governmental and private organizations for young scientists with expertise in human, animal, plant, microbial, medical, population and environmental genetics. The degree-granting, interdepartmental Genetics Program at Michigan State University is ideally situated to provide graduate training that can address these growing needs. Because of its size and the breadth in expertise of its faculty, the MSU Genetics Program exposes students to a broad range of genetics research, while allowing each student to focus on a particular topic for his or her doctoral research.