The Contribution of History and Philosophy to the Problem of Hybrid Views About Genes in Genetics Teaching

  • Charbel N. El-HaniEmail author
  • Ana Maria R. de Almeida
  • Gilberto C. Bomfim
  • Leyla M. Joaquim
  • João Carlos M. Magalhães
  • Lia M. N. Meyer
  • Maiana A. Pitombo
  • Vanessa C. dos Santos


Currently there are persistent doubts about the meaning and contributions of the gene concept, mostly related to its interpretation as a stretch of DNA encoding a single functional product, i.e., the classical molecular gene concept. There is, however, much conceptual variation around genes, leading to important difficulties in genetics teaching. We investigated whether and how conceptual variation related to the gene concept and gene function models is present in school science and what potential problems it may bring to genetics teaching and learning. Here, we report results on how ideas about genes and gene function are treated in textbooks and appear in students’ views and, also, about a teaching strategy for improving higher education students’ understanding of scientific models and conceptual variation around genes and their functions.


Retention Test Teaching Sequence Historical Model Conceptual Variation Genetic Determinism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are thankful to the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Research Support Foundation of the State of Bahia (FAPESB) for support during the development of the research reported in this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charbel N. El-Hani
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ana Maria R. de Almeida
    • 1
    • 3
  • Gilberto C. Bomfim
    • 1
  • Leyla M. Joaquim
    • 1
  • João Carlos M. Magalhães
    • 4
  • Lia M. N. Meyer
    • 1
    • 5
  • Maiana A. Pitombo
    • 1
  • Vanessa C. dos Santos
    • 1
  1. 1.History, Philosophy and Biology Teaching Lab (LEFHBio)Institute of Biology, Federal University of BahiaSalvadorBrazil
  2. 2.Department of General BiologyInstitute of Biology, Universidade Federal da BahiaOndina, Salvador-BABrazil
  3. 3.Graduate Studies Program in Plant BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  4. 4.Department of GeneticsFederal University of ParanáCuritibaBrazil
  5. 5.Department of BiosciencesFederal University of SergipeItabaianaBrazil

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