Types of genetics

By Razib Khan | April 25, 2012 11:06 pm
  • Molecular genetics
  • Developmental genetics
  • Population genetics
  • Quantitative genetics
  • Phylogenetics

Thoughts? Recently had a discussion whether phylogeneticists considered themselves geneticists (qualified “no”). Quantitative genetics really evolved out of biometrics, which actually opposed Mendelian genetics. You can construct quantitative genetics from Mendelian first principles, but it is not necessary. As for population vs. molecular, ask each group what they mean by “gene.” Modern developmental geneticists seem to be closely aligned with molecular geneticists.

MORE ABOUT: Genetics
  • http://3lbmonkeybrain.blogspot.com/ Mike Keesey

    I’d say phylogenetics overlaps genetics but isn’t part of it, since morphological data can be used as well. For example, paleontologists do a lot of phylogenetic work.

  • S.J. Esposito

    How about pharmacogenetics? Admittedly, pharmacogeneticists may fall under one of the fields already listed, but they have a definitive research goal that I would think set them apart.

    Phylogenetics is an interesting one. I would regard *molecular* phylogeneticists as geneticists, but I do not consider paleontologists who do morphological phylogenetics to be under the same umbrella.

  • Chad

    Developmental Genetics seems to me more a subfield, typically of Molecular genetics, rather as something really distinct.

    Despite its historical roots, do any quantitative geneticists, or at least a noticeable number of, still reject Mendelian genetics? All those I know who work on quantitative geneticists would probably consider themselves in a broad sense population geneticists.

    So ultimately I would reduce it to:

    Molecular Genetics
    Population Genetics

    The distinction between the Molecular Geneticist and Population Geneticist I like to think is or will begin to fade in the coming years, at least at the method/technique level. Traditionally Molecular Geneticists work on single or a handful of genes, but beginning with microarrays and even more so now with next-gen sequencing, molecular labs are increasingly working at a genome wide scale. This requires shifts in mindset that mirror those of the population geneticist. I think also, with the increased resolution and abilities that such techniques give Population Geneticists, they will also move in the opposite direction to an extent. In the past a quantitative geneticist would find some quantitative loci and more or less leave it at that. Now, they are finally getting the abilities to single in on the actual alleles underlying the quantitative trait….which then leads to a more molecular approach. As for the phylogeneticists…..certainly the divisions are not as bad as they used to be. Molecular types regularly use phylogenetic trees of their favorite genes to attempt to find something interesting (even if it is often done badly).

    Cetainly divisions exist, but as Biology has become more collaborative, more complex, and with the more we know, these divisions begin to fade as one field finds it really needs the help of the other.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    #3, generally agree. though i wonder about biophysical molecular geneticists. do they need pop gen ever? i can imagine in the future. though not near….

  • chris w

    Where would behavioral genetics fall?

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    #5, it is a synthesis of quantitative genetics and psychology.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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