Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 9, Issue 1, Article 8 (June, 2008)
Osman CARDAK and Musa Dikmenli
The knowledge of DNA and DNA technologies among pre-service science teachers

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Conclusion and Recommendation

This study was done on pre-service science teachers of Selcuk University. The questions asked in the study included subjects like the structure and role of DNA molecule, structure of genes, some genetic technologies, Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) plants, etc. The important finding of the study was that a large majority of the pre-service teachers were not aware of the discovery date of the DNA molecule. Pre-service teachers did have some knowledge about general structure of DNA, however they had partial knowledge about dimensions of DNA and types of bonds. Their knowledge about the definition and structure of the gene was considerably low, and a large majority of the pre-service teachers (80%) couldn’t draw the flow schema of the central dogma correctly.

The questions that were asked to assess the knowledge of the pre-service teachers about cloning, gene cloning, animal cloning, 42% of the pre-service teachers mentioned both animal and gene cloning. When asked specifically about gene cloning, 11% of the pre-service teachers gave scientifically valid, meaningful responses. When asked specifically about animal cloning, only 6% of the pre-service teachers were knowledgeable about the subject. Some of the pre-service teachers were aware of cloned animals like Dolly. It was revealed that pre-service teachers not only had acceptable opinions about cloning, gene cloning, and animal cloning (Example: It is the forming of a genetic copy of an organism or cell), but they also had alterative opinions without scientific validity (It is creating a new individual with the same DNA sequence but different kind).

Recent studies show that science teachers need a genetic and biotechnology education. Some factors are limiting the genetic biotechnology education. These factors are lack of expert teachers in the field, a lack of appropriate teaching activities and a lack of sufficient teaching material and time (Dawson, 2001). An effective genetic biotechnology education not only enhances the knowledge of the students, but it also helps them understand the risks, disadvantages and advantages of modern biotechnology. Evaluating the perceptions and stances of the students about genetics and biotechnology will help in the teaching phase. The students should be given opportunities to discuss genetics and biotechnology. In addition, teachers should be aware of the missing knowledge and misconceptions of the students about the subjects of genetics and biotechnology.

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