Science & Education

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 251–258 | Cite as

Genetics and Society—Educating Scientifically Literate Citizens: Introduction to the Thematic Issue

  • Kostas Kampourakis
  • Thomas A. C. Reydon
  • George P. Patrinos
  • Bruno J. Strasser

The Need for Genetics Literacy

Advances in molecular genetics and genomics, and their applications in personalised medicine and other fields, are raising important socio-scientific issues. If the aim of science teaching is to educate scientifically literate citizens, the implications of current genetic and genomic technologies for our lives have to be addressed in science courses. Educational policies in all industrialized societies consider science literacy as a main goal of education. The science standards in several European Union member states (Eurydice Network 2011) and the United States (National Research Council 2012) have stated similar goals. Given the key role attributed to genes as determinants of human identity, health, and behavior, genetics is a scientific field about which science literacy is particularly important. With the wide media attention given to the identification of the genetic basis of human traits and the increasing availability of direct-to-consumer genetic...


Stem Cell Research Thematic Issue Genetic Determinism Embryonic Stem Cell Research Genetic Instruction 
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.



The idea for this issue emerged from the “Genetics and Society” conference that was held in Athens, Greece, in November 2011. The conference was co-organized by the Golden Helix Institute of Biomedical Research ( and GEITONAS School ( We thank Michael Matthews for providing us with the opportunity to work on a thematic journal issue on this topic. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kostas Kampourakis
    • 1
  • Thomas A. C. Reydon
    • 2
  • George P. Patrinos
    • 3
  • Bruno J. Strasser
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology Section and IUFEUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Philosophy, Center for Philosophy and Ethics of Science (ZEWW) and Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences (CELLS)Leibniz Universität HannoverHannoverGermany
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacy, School of Health SciencesUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece

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