ERIC Number: EJ1044393
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Aug
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 28
Reaching Future Scientists, Consumers, & Citizens: What Do Secondary School Textbooks Say about Genomics & Its Impact on Health?
Hicks, Melissa A.; Cline, Rebecca J.; Trepanier, Angela M.
American Biology Teacher, v76 n6 p379-383 Aug 2014
An understanding of how genomics information, including information about risk for common, multifactorial disease, can be used to promote personal health (personalized medicine) is becoming increasingly important for the American public. We undertook a quantitative content analysis of commonly used high school textbooks to assess how frequently the genetic basis of common multifactorial diseases was discussed compared with the "classic" chromosomal--single gene disorders historically used to teach the concepts of genetics and heredity. We also analyzed the types of conditions or traits that were discussed. We identified 3957 sentences across 11 textbooks that addressed multifactorial and "classic" genetic disorders. "Classic" gene disorders were discussed relatively more frequently than multifactorial diseases, as was their genetic basis, even after we enriched the sample to include five adult-onset conditions common in the general population. Discussions of the genetic or hereditary components of multifactorial diseases were limited, as were discussions of the environmental components of these conditions. Adult-onset multifactorial diseases are far more common in the population than chromosomal or single-gene disorders; many are potentially preventable or modifiable. As such, they are targets for personalized medical approaches. The limited discussion in biology textbooks of the genetic basis of multifactorial conditions and the role of environment in modifying genetic risk may limit the public's understanding and use of personalized medicine.
Descriptors: Molecular Biology, Genetics, Science Instruction, Textbooks, Textbook Content, Textbook Evaluation, Genetic Disorders, Diseases, Heredity, Secondary School Science, Health, Content Analysis, Biology, Etiology, Environmental Influences, High Schools
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education; High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A