Epigenetic literacy and the implementation of epigenetics in school biology
The aim of the project is to identify what constitutes epigenetic literacy and based on that develop and research the effects of a teaching module for the implementation of epigenetics in school biology. Epigenetics has revolutionized biological theory, since we now understand how the environment interacts with the genome.
The classical debate of nature versus nurture has broken down to an explanatory model of nature and nurture refuting old genetic deterministic conceptions. Epigenetics has led to new ways of understanding biological and social phenomena in medicine, health, learning, sports, sociology, psychology etc. Therefore the public need to develop a scientific literacy about epigenetics and its societal implications, i.e. an epigenetic literacy.
Today epigenetics is not taught in school. In this project we will first research what constitutes epigenetic literacy by doing a literature review of epigenetic research and its societal implications, and by conducting a Delphi study with an international expert panel. These two sub-projects will deliver outputs for a design study, which will answer the question of how epigenetics successfully could be implemented in school biology through a teaching module.
This study will be accompanied by an effect study that will use an evidence based research approach to explore if students’ participation in the teaching module has given effects on their epigenetic literacy and if misconceptions of genetic determinism have been refuted
January 2017 to December 2019.
Epigenetic literacy and the implementation of epigenetics in school biology.
The Swedish Research Council.
Professor Niklas Gericke
Associate professor Birgitta Mc Ewen
PhD student Karin Thörne