What’s more important, genes or environment? It’s an argument that goes back to well before the concept of genes was developed. The advent of genomics has given us a new perspective on the role of genetic variants in a lot of traits, but it hasn’t necessarily stopped the arguing. The reasons are nicely highlighted by a new paper that describes a massive genetic screen for factors associated with educational success.
The study screened more than a million people for genetic variants associated with time spent in school. And while the study came up with a lot of genomic regions that were associated with schooling, the average difference made by each individual gene is only 1.7 weeks; collectively, the regions only account for a bit more than 10 percent of the differences in time spent studying. Critically, they may only be relevant to the European populations that were used to identify them.
Find the genes
Time spent in school is a rough measure of educational achievement. While there may be radical differences between two people who completed college, there’s likely to be some consistent differences between people who quit after high school and those who pursued graduate study. And it seems to be a relevant measure in that it correlates with the improved economic and health outcomes that are typically associated with successful careers. And it’s a less biased way of getting at educational achievement than things like standardized tests.
Source: FS – All – Science – News
Screening 1.1 million people shows 1,271 genome sites linked to education