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Thread: Differences Between Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Genetics?

  1. #1 Differences Between Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Genetics? 
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    Apr 2014
    My undergraduate college offers these three majors. Can someone tell me the differences between them?

    One of my dream jobs has been to manipulate DNA to improve the quality of life. Which of these three majors would fit best with this type of job? I appreciate any thoughts/comments.

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  3. #2  
    Moderator Moderator Cogito Ergo Sum's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
    The differences between those three fields can be summarized as follows:

    (taken from Wikipedia)

    DNA manipulation is a major activity in all the fields you have summed up in the title, so it is not a good measure to make your choice.
    If I were you, I would talk to the professors at your university and ask them for advice. They will be able to offer you better advice than I ever could.

    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  4. #3  
    Making antisense Jon Moulton's Avatar
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    Oct 2013
    Corvallis, Oregon, USA
    Here's my path: focus where you must, but learn as much as you can in all three fields. You'll have to pick one for a major, but aim for breadth. The other path is to pick one and delve deep, not wasting time puttering in the other fields. I told my research advisor that I wished to train as a generalist; he told me I had to become a niche specialist, expert in a very narrow field. So I complied, right up until graduation. Then the world opened up again, and the broad studies I had pursued as an undergrad became a useful background for exploration. Ask yourself what your preference is - niche expertise or or a broad but necessarily shallower perspective.
    Last edited by Jon Moulton; April 10th, 2014 at 05:23 PM.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    Hmm.. I never really could find the difference between the Majors. I never took any classes of molecular biology, however, i am a molecular biologist. I did however go to many genetics, gene manipulation, proteomics, genomics and biochemistry classes.

    But you can manipulate DNA and improve the quality of life in all of those majors equally. Which is extremely low to begin with because of all the restrictions there are to gene manipulation. Mostly you improve the way detection of DNA/RNA works, and you build a bigger understanding of how our genes work. This is only recently baring fruit, where it is starting to help treat cancer.

    If i were you, i would pick genetics. It is the most basic ground for the storage of information, and you will be able to find out which polymorphisms cause which alteration in the body. Biochemistry was mostly doing metabolism calculations, and memorizing proteins and what they do.

    As a geneticist, you are also a molecular biologist anyway. You should pick whichever is easier for you, the highest grades..
    SkyexSora likes this.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  6. #5  
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    Melbourne, Australia
    Whatever satisfies requirements for thesis/honours projects you want to be part of. The answers that I typically get are 'as long as it satisfies the requirements to get in, we don't really care, we just care about the motivation of the student.' Research the classes that are involved in the majors, and see which ones sound more interesting to you, or the easier classes.
    I can never know I'm right, but I can know that I'm wrong.
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