Educational Achievement Predicted By DNA
PREDICTING 9% of educational achievement directly from DNA — and DNA alone — is quite good; a great achievement, in fact, almost quintupling the previous figure. Remember, it is established science that educational achievement is 60% heritable — but predicting it directly from DNA is the cutting edge of research, and the accuracy of the predictions is growing quickly. We’re just at the beginnings of this kind of research. The authors used genotype arrays, so there’s obvious room for growth in rare variation that is not covered by such arrays.
I wonder when the public and policymakers will get wind of the fact that educational achievement is highly heritable and can even be somewhat predicted with existing DNA technology.
Genetic egalitarianism is an edifice on which too much has been invested and I doubt that it will go down without a fight. It’s of course a great idea to optimize learning for the students you’ve got. But, at the end of the day there’s only so much you can do to foster achievement in a trait that is mostly genetically determined.
Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication 19 July 2016; doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.107
Predicting educational achievement from DNA
S Selzam et al.
A genome-wide polygenic score (GPS), derived from a 2013 genome-wide association study (N=127,000), explained 2% of the variance in total years of education (EduYears). In a follow-up study (N=329,000), a new EduYears GPS explains up to 4%. Here, we tested the association between this latest EduYears GPS and educational achievement scores at ages 7, 12 and 16 in an independent sample of 5825 UK individuals. We found that EduYears GPS explained greater amounts of variance in educational achievement over time, up to 9% at age 16, accounting for 15% of the heritable variance. This is the strongest GPS prediction to date for quantitative behavioral traits. Individuals in the highest and lowest GPS septiles differed by a whole school grade at age 16. Furthermore, EduYears GPS was associated with general cognitive ability (~3.5%) and family socioeconomic status (~7%). There was no evidence of an interaction between EduYears GPS and family socioeconomic status on educational achievement or on general cognitive ability. These results are a harbinger of future widespread use of GPS to predict genetic risk and resilience in the social and behavioral sciences.
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Source: Dienekes Anthropology Blog and National Vanguard correspondents