Science over the last 20 years has changed how medical and health issues are explained and treated. “Genomics” is the study of all the genes in an organism, as well as the interactions of those genes with each other and that organism’s environment. All people are 99.9% identical in genetic makeup, but differences in the remaining 0.1% hold important clues about health and disease. The analysis of a drop of blood from an individual can help to predict the likelihood of that individual developing certain diseases. All children growing up in this world need to understand the concepts behind these scientific breakthroughs to make informed decisions about their own lives, and to act as citizens developing responsible public policy.
It’s not only children – studies show that most Americans do not fully understand modern concepts in genetics such as the importance of both genetic and environmental factors in shaping behavior and disease risk.
- Louise Mead, Education Director at BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action at MSU.