Genes and wealth of parents allow predicting child's academic success at birth – Innovita Research

Genes and wealth of parents allow predicting child's academic success at birth

You want your children to be successful. You want them to be smart and get good grades in school. But did you know that a big portion of academic success can actually be predicted at birth? Scientists from the University of York found that genetic factors are unbelievably important in determining the likelihood of child’s academic achievements.

Genes are a strong predictor for propensity for education, but parents' socioeconomic situation is even more so. Image credit: ceridwen via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Scientists analyzed data from 5,000 children born in the UK between 1994 and 1996. Researchers paid attention to academic success of these children, but also analysed their genes to see whether there are DNA variations indicative of future achievement in school. Scientists found that genes were very important in determining child’s academic success. In fact, so much so that these kind of achievements in school could be predicted at birth just by analyzing one’s genome. However, it is not that simple.

It would be crazy if we could look at someone’s genes and accurately tell how well they are going to be doing at school. Genes are important, but scientists determined that parents’ education and wealth are probably even more important. For example, this study found that 47% of children with a high genetic propensity for education but a poorer background made it to university. Meanwhile 62 % of children with lesser genetic propensity for education and wealthier parents achieved the same. Of course, those from higher socioeconomic background and with better genetic propensity for education were the most likely to achieve university education (77 %), while those with not the right genes and poor parents rarely made it to high education (21 %).

Everyone should have an equal right for education. It is our best interest as a society that children learn and grow up to be professionals that we can build our economy upon. However, this study shows that nurture is more important than nature and some talents may be left out from the education opportunities. Wealth has a protective effect in this way and we should see what we can do to provide more opportunity for everyone.

Professor Sophie von Stumm, lead author of the study, said: “We hope that results like these can open doors for children, rather than close them, by stimulating the development and provision of personalised environments that can appropriately enhance and supplement a child’s education.”

Child’s academic success depends on a variety of factors. If you start making right decisions now, you could help your children in the future. You just have to make sure your kids are motivated and have all the means needed to learn as much as possible.


Source: University of York