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Education Plus

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Q & A

Options in genetic engineering

— File Photo

Research-oriented: Courses in genetic engineering are offered by only a few institutions, and usually it falls under the broad area of biotechnology; students in a genetic engineering lab.

I am keen on pursuing a career in genetic engineering. Kindly give me the details of the admission procedures for courses in genetic engineering. What are the related job opportunities?

MEENU A. V., Email

Genetic engineering is not a mainstream course and it is offered only by a few institutions. Genetic engineering is 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 biotech industry depends on genetics to produce pharmaceutical products such as insulin and other medicines. In the medical field, genetics focuses on diseases. It strives 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.

Study options

At the B.Tech. level, genetic engineering courses are very rare. So after Plus Two, students can opt for B.Tech. course in biotechnology

and biochemical engineering. Another option is to undergo a three-year B.Sc. degree course in genetics, biological sciences, life sciences or biotechnology and then opt for post graduation in genetics. B.Tech. SRM University, Chennai, offers a four-year B.Tech. course in genetic engineering on its Ramapuram campus. Those who have passed Plus Two examinatioan with at least 50 per cent marks in aggregate in biology, physics and chemistry are eligible for admission. The selection is based on a national level entrance test. Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi will be among the test centres. For more details visit www.srmuniv.ac.in or contact SRM University, West Mambalam, Chennai 600033.

At IITs

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) do not offer B.Tech. course in genetic engineering.

Therefore you can study biotechnology/

biochemical engineering programmes offered by IITs. IIT Madras conducts four-year B.Tech. biotechnology and five-year dual degree M.Tech. programme in biotechnology. Web site: http://jee.iitm.ac.in.

IIT Kharagpur offers four-year B.Tech. and five-year dual degree M.Tech. courses in biotechnology and biochemical engineering. Web site: www.iitkgp.ernet.in/jee

IIT Guwahati offers B.Tech. degree course in biotechnology. Web site: www.iitg.ernet.in/jee.

IIT Delhi offers five-year dual degree M.Tech. in biochemical engineering and biotechnology. Web site: www.iitd.ernet.in/jee.

IIT Roorkee offers B.Tech. degree course in biotechnology. Web site: www.iitr.ac.in/jee.

Admission to these programmes is through a national level IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). Those who are appearing or who have

passed Plus Two examination with physics, chemistry, mathematics / biology as subjects with at least 60 per cent marks can appear for the IIT- JEE.

The Institute of Bioinformatics and Biotechnology under University of Pune offers integrated M.Sc. / M.Tech. programmes in biotechnology. The selection is based on an entrance test. Web sites: www.unipune.ernet.in/ibb, www.unipune.ac.in. Phone: 020- 25691331.

In Kerala

The Sri Chithra Thirunal (SCT) College of Engineering, Pappanamcode, Thiruvananthapuram; Mohandas College of Engineering and Technology Anad, Nedumangad, Thiruvananthapuram; 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. degree courses in biotechnology and biochemical engineering.

Admission to the merit seats in these colleges is based on rank obtained in the State engineering entrance test and marks obtained in physics, chemistry and mathematics subjects in the Plus Two examination.

Details can be collected from the web site www.cee-kerala.org.

B.Sc. genetics

The AWH Special College, Kallai, Kozhikode, affiliated to University of Calicut conducts a three-year B.Sc. degree 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 science.

Padmashree Group of Institutions, Bangalore, affiliated to Bangalore University, offers B.Sc. degree course in genetics.

Web site: www.padmashree.org.

M.Sc. genetics

A few universities also offer two-year M.Sc. degree courses in genetics.

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

University of Delhi, South Campus, New Delhi – 21

Osmania University, Hyderabad- 500007

Bharkathullah Viswavidyalaya, Bhopal – 426026.

Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana – 141004

Chowdhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hissar-125004

Rajendra Agricultural University, Samsthipur – 848125

Some of the universities that offer related courses include the following:

Department of Botany, University of Kerala, Kariavattam, 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.

Gurunanak 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. Web site: ww.cuk.edu.in.

Madurai Kamaraj University, Palkalai Nagar, Madurai: M.Sc. plant genetics engineering and microbial gene technology.

Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (UP): M.Sc. molecular and human genetics.

Some universities and research organisations offer research facilities leading to doctorate degree in genetics and related areas.

List of universities that offer B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D. 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 all university employment information and guidance bureaux functioning under the universities in Kerala.

Job opportunities

To become a scientist, one should obtain a doctoral degree in the relevant field. Job opportunities exist in research and development organisations, pharmaceutical companies, biotech industries, academic institutions, colleges and so on.

The National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi; The Centre for DNA Finger Printing and Diagnostics, Hyderabad; The Biochemical Engineering Research and Process Development Centre, Chandigarh; The Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, are some of the institutes that appoint genetic engineers and genetic and biotech scientists. Job opportunities for genetic engineers are available in the private sector companies also.

Gopakumar Karakonam

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