Genetics is increasingly being applied in all fields of biology. Geneticists often work with scientists outside the life sciences. Research geneticists specialize in a wide range of areas including:
- Clinical genetics - the study of normal and abnormal genetic factors at the level of chromosomes and DNA, along with the diagnosis and treatment of heritable genetic diseases using biochemistry and physiological tests
- Developmental genetics - the study of the genetic control of cells and the processes by which they form multicellular organisms (as part of normal development or abnormally, as in cancer or neurodegenerative disease)
- Molecular genetics - the study of the molecular basis of gene activity, transmission, and mutation, including the manipulation of genes and their transfer among species
- Population genetics - the study of natural variation and the processes of inheritance and evolution in populations of organisms, such as tracing human histories and genealogies, both recent and in the distant past (prehistoric)
- Agricultural genetics - the study of the genetic inheritance of traits in plants and animals, including disease resistance, growth, production, end-product quality, and the facilitation of improvements in crops and livestock
- Bioinformatics - the production, comparison, and analysis of DNA sequences using computer algorithms to identify potential functions and information
- Phylogenetic research - the use of DNA sequences for molecular data to solve species identification and evolutionary relationships
- Forensic genetics - the use of genetic differences in humans and other species to identify individuals and groups
Some geneticists are involved in developing and improving industrial processes, such as producing drugs including antibiotics and vaccines. For more information, see the Biotechnologist occupational profile.
Medical geneticists (physicians) study the causes, prevention, and treatment of human conditions with genetic causes. They are directly involved in patient care.
Genetic counsellors (M.Sc.) gather and analyze family history and inheritance patterns, calculate risks of disorders recurring, and provide information about genetic testing and related procedures. They offer support to families who are affected by or at risk of a genetic disorder.
Other geneticists may be involved in field biology or laboratory research on microbes, plants, or animals. This usually involves working at a laboratory bench. It can also involve field collections, mathematical models, or computer simulations.