Laboratory medicine

Laboratory medicine

Thursday, April 21, 2016

DNA Analyst: Job, responsibilities and career guide

How to Become a DNA Analyst: Career Path Guide

To become a DNA analyst, you need to first determine if this is a suitable career path for you. Can you handle high-pressure and distressing work conditions? Are you skilled in science and have a patient, methodical approach to analyzing biological samples? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to these questions, then you may be well suited for a career in this field.

Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in a career as a DNA analyst. We've also included helpful information for a DNA analyst career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!

DNA Analyst Job Description

DNA analysts are responsible for preparing, analyzing tissue samples, and interpreting their results, in order to determine the genetic origins and properties of the sample. As many of the samples they examine are related to criminal evidence, DNA analysts must follow strict protocol when handling and storing the samples, and may be required to testify as expert witnesses on their findings. 

DNA Analyst Job Duties

• Compile tissue and organic samples such as hair follicles, skin cells, bodily fluids and others
• Isolate DNA strands within sample
• Unknown samples are compared against known samples in order to identify matches
• May be required to testify in court regarding findings
• Peer review the work of other DNA analysts; including re-testing samples and double-checking the findings of reports
• Oversee the proper storage of samples (while following very strict protocol)
• Attend seminars, lectures, and forensic functions for the purpose of continuous professional development

Education Needed to Become a DNA Analyst

To become a DNA analyst, you typically need a bachelor's degree related to biology, microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics or forensic sciences.

Coursework that allows you to have a complete understanding of each stage of DNA analysis, as well as be proficient with the procedures, techniques, applications, terms, and scientific principles of DNA analysis will help you break seamlessly into a career as a DNA analyst.

Coursework that is especially helpful includes microbiology, immunology, infectious diseases, gene development and biochemistry. Most university science programs include mandatory participation in laboratory work, which helps students gain experience with laboratory processes, procedures and equipment. 

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