What Is The Difference Between Cytogenetics And Molecular Genetics?

Genetics is a branch in biology that deals with studying the characteristics that are inherited to the next generation through genomes. There are two sub-branches into which genetics can be classified, namely:

  • Cytogenetics
  • Molecular genetics

Both the fields of study are crucial in understanding the genetic diseases, therapy, diagnosis and evolution. Molecular genetics is the study of chromosomes and DNA at the molecular level using DNA technology whereas, Cytogenetics is the study of structure and number of chromosomes using microscopic analysis. Molecular genetics studies segments of DNA, genes at the molecular level whereas cytogenetics is the study of how chromosomes relate to the behaviour of cells during the cell division process.

Molecular genetics utilizes the mechanisms of DNA technology in order to investigate gene mutations. Cytogenetics includes the microscopic examination of chromosomal abnormalities. For instance, a decrease or an increase in the chromosomal number or translocation of one to another chromosome. One of the key components inside the nucleus of the cells are the chromosomes that act as vectors of inheritance. Cytogenetics deals with the study of the relationship of modifications in chromosomes and genetic disorders in humans while in molecular genetics, new technologies that combine molecular techniques and cytogenetic concepts are used to study genetic disorders.

Difference Between Cytogenetics And Molecular Genetics

The main difference between both the fields lies in their focus. Listed below are the differences:

Molecular genetics Cytogenetics
Study of genes using DNA techniques and technology at the level of DNA It is the study of numerical and structural variations in the chromosomes with the use of microscopic techniques
Some of the techniques used in molecular genetics are – DNA amplification, DNA isolation, gene screens, gene cloning etc. FISH, aCGH, Karyotyping are a few of the techniques used in cytogenetics.

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