A physician of clinical cytogenetics and molecular genetics is a specialist who plays a major role in the analysis of diseases. They work closely with other scientists and medical professionals to ensure that research is conducted within a strict systemic approach. As well as giving their own clinical input to the analysis of diseases, particularly at the cytogenetic and molecular level, they also work alongside other pathologists, such as histopathologists and immunologists.

Cytogenetics is mainly concerned with the study of chromosomal irregularities, while molecular genetics is chiefly concerned with the study of DNA and the mutation of genes. A specialist of this branch of medicine would play a part in both of these categories. You would need to be of sound scientific and medical ability to be a physician of this discipline.

Work activities

Typical work activities a physician of clinical cytogenetics and molecular genetics would undertake include:

  • Work in laboratories, whether in a general hospital or specialist clinic.
  • Offer advice to other medical professionals and be open to their opinion.
  • Use your extensive knowledge of genetics to identify diseases and offer your clinical input as to what treatment should be given.
  • Physicians of this speciality would have a particular interest in individuals who have a genetic disease.
  • Conduct analysis of chromosomes and deal with conditions related to cytogenetics such as lung cancer.
  • Work to identify abnormalities from looking at patient cell samples.
  • Work with other clinical pathologists to come to a diagnosis.
  • You may need to come up with results in a matter of days or within a few weeks.
  • A physician needs to continue studying throughout their career in order to learn of any new investigative techniques and medical practices.
  • Use computers and other equipment to conduct research.

Essential skills

  • Broad knowledge of and an aptitude for the sciences and medicine.
  • You will need good attention to detail to identify any irregularities, which are not always obvious.
  • Excellent hand-eye coordination to ensure any cell samples are not mishandled.
  • Great levels of concentration.
  • Very good IT skills as most tests are conducted through the use of machines.
  • You will need to have good communication skills when discussing such sensitive issues and concepts with patients.
  • Able to work as an individual and as part of a team.
  • Theoretical approach.
  • Professional and organised manner.