Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Moshe Khurgel

Degree Award Date

Spring 2015


medical school training, doctors, biological basis, human variation?


Genetics and Genomics | Medical Education | Medicine and Health Sciences


The intent of this study was to compare the understanding of human biological variation by pre-med and graduating medical school students, with the aim of assessing their training on this subject in medical school. Due to low response rate, graduating medical school students could not be assessed. Therefore, this study focused on assessing the current knowledge of human biological variation concepts in pre-medical school undergraduate biology major.

A forty three questions survey was constructed with a focus on probing the current topic of genetic variation and emailed to the participants. Thirty six undergraduate biology majors and one fourth year medical school student participated in the survey, with a 78% completion rate.

The results showed that students were uncertain in their knowledge of human genomics. Many of the responders did not understand the biological basis to human variation. At the same time, many of the respondents reported that racial groups were likely to have fairly similar genotypes and that these groups are not significantly different from each other, displaying some understanding. Overall, average student's score was low on questions about genetic information they are expected to know; with respect to human variation.