Article| Volume 28, ISSUE 6, P497-506, November 2014

Conversations With Children About DNA and Genes Using an Original Children's Book



      The purpose of this evaluation was to compare parent and nurse use of an original children's book about deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) function as a potential aid in the assent process in research. We also appraised parent's knowledge about DNA and the use of genetic testing results.


      We used mixed qualitative and quantitative methods. Parent-child dyads were recruited at an urban pediatric hospital. Knowledge of genetic concepts was assessed in adults with use of the Genetic Knowledge Index. Participants read the book What DNA Does with a nurse or alone and participated in interviews with investigators. The content of field notes from interviews was analyzed.


      Parent and child knowledge of DNA and gene function was generally poor but improved in most cases, particularly after reading with the nurse.


      The evaluated book is appropriate as a teaching aid in the child assent process in research or prior to genetic testing but should be presented by clinicians in most cases.

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      Patricia Newcomb, Nurse Scientist, Texas Health Resources, Fort Worth, TX.


      Rachel Hudlow, Registered Nurse, Irving, TX.


      Joan Heilskov, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner and Doctoral Student, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX.


      Cynthia Diane Martinez, Registered Nurse, Texas Health Resources, Fort Worth, TX.


      Heather Le, Registered Nurse, Texas Health Resources, Fort Worth, TX.