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Plant geneticists play a vital role in the horticultural and agricultural sectors, where theycontinually engage with changing market requirements and consumer demandsregarding important crops. Modern plant breeding is now an increasingly technologically advanced, multi-billion-dollar business. There is also increasing scope for plant genetics experts in veterinary and human healthcare for the R&D of plant-based vaccines, antibodies, and recombinant medicines,as well as for the green sector in the production of biodegradable plastics and biofuels.
Plant geneticists are scientists who work with plant genes to understand and/or develop certain plant traits through research or selective breeding. These traits includeconsumer preferences for shape, flavor, and color; as well as aspects such asnutritional value; crop yield; tolerance to cold, drought or pesticides; and disease resistance. In this way, plant geneticists can improve the characteristics of existing horticultural and agricultural varieties, as well as create new varieties of plants.
Areas of specialization include functional genomics (how genes work), structural genomics (how plant genomes are structured), population genetics(how genes are transmitted between and within populations), plant breeding (how quantitative genetics can be used to produce superior plants through selective breeding), andmolecular plant genetics(how to identify genes of interest and characterize their function).
Some plant geneticists work in government research institutes or agricultural departments, or in academia where they teach and conduct research. Others work in the commercial sector, e.g., for agricultural seed and chemical companies, biotechnology companies or pharma. The non-profit sector also conducts research in plant genetics to benefit areas in the developing world where crops are often difficult to grow.
The typical responsibilities of a plant genetics expert can include:
- Raising funds and managing budgets for research projects
- Planningand implementing research projects
- Recording and analyzing research data
- Applying molecular biology techniques such as genotyping, Sanger and next-generation sequencing
- Using associated bioinformatic skills in genomics data processing and analysis, including assembly, annotation, and variant detection
- Using skills in programming and command-line computing for bioinformatic analyses
- Applying quantitative or statistical genetics for crop improvement
- Identifying plants with desirable traits
- Identifying genes responsible for certain plant traits or functions
- Crossbreeding plants to generate new varieties for field testing
- Genetic engineering of crops to improve certain traits
- Tending trial plants grown in greenhouses and fields
- Teaching graduate and undergraduate courses
- Serving as a liaison for government and industry
- Managing field and laboratory workers
- Publishing research reports and presenting findings to funders and other scientists
- Monitoringcompetitor activities if in the commercial sector
Plant geneticists will at the very least have a bachelor’s degree in biology, botany, agronomy, horticulture, forestry or biochemistry. For advancement and certain positions and responsibilities, a master’s degree or doctorate is required.Their job titles vary and can include Plant Breeder, Plant and Crop Geneticist, Senior Research Scientist, and Biotechnology Specialist. There are also plant genetics content writers, who specialize in writing in this field for the media, government, business, and academia.
To hire a freelance plant genetics consultant, the fee generally ranges from 40–100 USD per hour depending on how specialized the required skillset is and the level of experience necessary.
The hourly fee can be negotiated upfront based on the estimated number of project hours, or a flat fee (for projects of a defined scope) can be discussed. If you need short-term/temporary access to plant genetics services, then hiring a freelance consultant on our platform is a convenient and cost-effective way to access this talent pool.
The best way to attract the top Kolabtree freelancers in this field is to make your project description informative. You will need to provide information on the following:
- Skills required (e.g., crossbreeding of plants)
- What the project area is (e.g., floriculture)
- What the project entails (e.g., producing a plant variety with a new leaf color)
- What the deliverables are (be specific about what you need the outputs to be)
- Duration of the project (provide an estimate of how many hours work you will need per week/by when you need the project to be completed)
- By when you need to hire (having more leeway on this will give you more time to choose the best expert for your needs)
- Your budget (per hour or fixed fee)
If you are unsure what exactly is required, providing as much detail as possible will allow the expertsto still make an informed bid for your project and suggest the best routes forward.
Our platform makes it easier than ever before to connect and collaborate with plant genetics consultants who can provide your project with the expertise you need.