Assessing knowledge of genetics in undergraduate students in Quito, Ecuador

David Ortega-Paredes, César Larrea-Álvarez, Michelle Herrera, Esteban Fernandez-Moreira, Marco Larrea-Álvarez
2019 F1000Research  
Knowledge of genetics is crucial for understanding genetic and genomic tests and for interpreting personal genomic information. Despite this relevance, no data are available about the level of knowledge of genetics in an Ecuadorian population. This investigation sought to survey such knowledge in undergraduate students affiliated with private and public institutions in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. A total of 350 individuals responded to a validated questionnaire measuring knowledge of
more » ... ing knowledge of genetics. Scores ranged from 45% to 87% (mean: 66.8%), and students achieved slightly better results when asked about genetics and diseases (mean score: 68.3%) than when asked about genetic facts (mean score: 64.9%). Additionally, no significant differences in performance were found among students from private and public institutions. Surprisingly, the lower score obtained (45%) was from a question about how chromosomes are passed to the next generation. The highly educated status of the surveyed population could explain the overall results; nonetheless, the possibility that the correct responses were given by chance cannot be ignored. Therefore, the actual knowledge of genetics among the participants might be different than that revealed by the percentages of correct answers. Consequently, to achieve the goal of ensuring informed decision-making concerning genetic and genomic tests, it seems evident that the national education programs of Ecuador require improvement in the teaching of genetic concepts.
doi:10.12688/f1000research.18394.2 fatcat:vcc3tuem5rg37k7twbo6f2cf4e