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Developmental Biology vs Molecular Biology; Help!

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    For the longest time I've always wanted to be a genetic engineer, working on gene expression and how to change the genome to benefit us. So it never really crossed my mind that Genetics wasn't the course for me, it seemed obvious, however at a recent Open Day I got to talk to some students and a professor doing what I want to do and they pointed me away from Genetics and towards Developmental or Molecular Biology.

    I'd be incredibly grateful if someone could help me sort out the differences between the two and which would be more appropriate for someone looking to move into a career working splicing beneficial genes into animals and if I ever see the day humans.

    A further point is that it seems Developmental Biology is a niche course only offered by 3 Uni's, 2 of which are a world away in Scotland and the third being a very high target grade for me to aspire to. So I'm really stuck between the concept of a dream career vs the viability of the process of getting there

    You need to make a list of courses that you may be interested in and go through them to work out which ones actually interest you by looking at modules and course structures, There is no fixed course to do. I did biochem and do some genetic work now. Most courses will cover the basics and broader courses will allow you to explore your interests.

    I would strongly recommend NOT choosing a very specialist degree like developmental biology, but go for a more general biological sciences degree or similar.

    During most degrees you will specialise as you go towards your final year, so that you end up studying something specific (e.g. genetics or developmental biology or whatever). But you will be able to take your time to learn lots of different areas and discover what you want to focus on. You can't really know that at 17 or 18. I began my biology degree thinking I wanted to do genetics, but realised zoology was actually my passion. I am so glad I didn't start a genetics degree from the off.

    If you want a career doing research as you describe, you are most likely going to need a PhD, which will give you the actual training to do that work. So what you do before is not that important as long as it is relevant enough for a PhD. Your undergraduate degree is not going to give you special skills that others bio grads don't have.

    TLDR: You don't need to specialise now. Choose a general biology course.
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