Human genetics in Brazilian textbooks and genetic determinism

Abstract In teaching genetics, addressing human genetics may bring the subject matter closer to students and illustrate that genetic mechanisms are not exclusive to other species. Since textbooks are among the main resources used in schools, the objective of this study is to verify which human characteristics are mentioned in textbooks and how they are addressed, and whether they provide students with an understanding of the complexity of the expression of their characteristics. In this study, we analyze books approved by the National Textbook Program, quantifying the human characteristics cited and categorizing them according to approach. The results show that human characteristics appear less frequently than other examples of inheritance; they are mostly described as single-gene characteristics, and this information is only sparsely related to the influence of the environment on genetic expression, which may provide a deterministic overview of genetics.