Twenty-First-Century Genetics and Genomics: Contributions of HPS-Informed Research and Pedagogy

In Michael R. Matthews (ed.), International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer. pp. 423-467 (2014)


A primary focus of the present chapter is the history and philosophy of science (HPS) and the ways that issues connected to HPS can inform genetics instruction. The chapter begins with an overview of the history of genetics which focuses on the scientific search for and the differing understandings of the gene concept. Thereafter the history of genetics is related to important philosophical issues of genetics such as reductionism, genetic determinism, and the relationship between biological function and structure. In the second part of the chapter, genetic education research is reviewed, focusing on how it is informed by issues from HPS. We identify contributions of HPS-informed genetics education scholarship to the following: (1) teaching and learning genetics, (2) teaching about the nature of science, (3) humanizing science, and (4) enhancing reasoning, argumentation, and thinking skills. The primary conclusion of this review is that HPS is a much underutilized but potentially fruitful lens for approaching genetics instruction.

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