CCST9025 Genetics and Human Nature
Prof Pak Sham, Dr Jack Tsao, Ms Nicole Lau

Education in Hong Kong: Problem and Suggestions based on the understanding of genetics and human

LAW Ching Lam Stephanie


According to Hong Kong policies, education is arranged according to the student’s age, but not their abilities. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have found that intelligence is highly heritable which affects learning, thus students may come into education at different starting points. Therefore, adopting a flexible education system regardless of age is recommended to facilitate students’ development.

Keywords: Education, Human nature, genetics

Improving Social Harmony in Hong Kong

LOCK Ching Tung Michelle


By applying our understanding of genetics and human nature, this presentation suggests government policies to improve social harmony in light of the current situation in Hong Kong. Considering economic inequality as one of the factors influencing social harmony, policies aimed to promote equal learning opportunities are proposed.

Keywords: Social Harmony, inequality, learning, genetics, human nature

To Improve Mental Health in Hong Kong

YIM Wing Sze Wincy


Life is tough – how can we battle it with the help of mental health support? The video explains how genetics and environment factors affect mental health and recommend short-term and long-term solutions to improves the supply of mental health professionals and the provision of mandatory mental health education to students.

Keywords: Mental Health, genetics, education

Intellectual Disability in Hong Kong

WONG Nok Lam Joyce


Around 1 in 100 people in Hong Kong suffer from some form of intellectual disability. The video provides an overview of the existing government policies to address this issue, the unresolved problems, and recommendations for solving these challenges.

Keywords: Intellectual disability, discrimination, social welfare, guardianship

Mental Health – Antenatal and Postnatal Mothers

TSE Kwan Yiu Kenny


According to the “Selfish Gene” theory by Richard Dawkins, there is an evolutionary basis for a mother’s apprehension towards their children. Not only does every mother suffer physically during pregnancy and postpartum, but also mentally. The following describes the genetic reasons why and how policy suggestions to the HK government can help alleviate this mental burden.

Keywords: Mental health, mothers, antenatal, postnatal depression, genetics

The Little Prince and the Future of Education

CHU Hoi Yan Emily

Concept Map

This illustrated concept map links the future of education to the concepts relating to genetics, environment, and human nature as experienced by through the travels of the Little Prince. Creativity and imagination are critical in education.

Keywords: Future, education, human nature, positive psychology, the little prince

CCST9025 Scientific and Technological Literacy
Genetics and Human Nature

[This course is under the thematic cluster of ‘Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth’.]

Course Description

The overall theme of this course is that genetics and evolution provide a useful perspective for understanding many important aspects of our lives, including our psychological makeup and how we relate to others. The course will draw on multiple intellectual disciplines – genetics, evolution, mathematics, statistics and psychology – to address the following fundamental issues:

  • How life is maintained from one generation to the next through genes, and how living organisms can adapt to the environment through changes in the genes.
  • How human individual and group differences in important domains such as personality, abilities and talents, behaviour and health are influenced by genetic and environmental differences.
  • How the nature of humankind may have been shaped by our evolutionary past, and the implications this has on current and future problems facing our species

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe and explain the basic principles of genetics and evolution, and give an account of the principal historical figures and their major ideas and contributions.
  2. Evaluate the evidence concerning the relative roles of nature and nurture (or genes and environment) in the determination of human individual and group differences, and to discuss the implications of the findings of such studies.
  3. Analyze how humankind’s evolutionary past may have shaped our emotional makeup and thereby impact on how we behave to each other and the material world.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Course will be offered twice:
Section 1 – First semester (Wed); Section 2 – Second semester (Wed)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 10
Reading / Self-study 60
Assessment: Poster presentation (incl preparation) 40
Total: 134

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Tutorial discussions 25
Poster presentation 40
In-class quizzes 35

Required Reading

  • Dawkins, R. (2006). The selfish gene (30th anniversary ed.). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. [Chaps. 1-10, 12]
  • Pinker, S. (2003). The blank slate: The modern denial of human nature. New York: Penguin Books. [Chaps. 1, 2, 6-10, 14-19]

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Professor P.C. Sham
Centre for PanorOmic Sciences, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 3917 9557
Teacher(s) Contact
Professor P.C. Sham
Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 3917 9557
Dr L.W. Baum
Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 2831 5106
Dr W.L. Yang
Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
Tel: 2831 5077