You Can Now Blame Mum And Dad’s Genes If You Flunked School

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If you did badly at school, it could be down to your genes rather than the classroom environment or your parent’s help or lack of it, say scientists.

A study of 6,653 pairs of twins in the UK found that nearly two-thirds of educational achievement is accounted for by our genes.

Eva Krapohl and Kaili Rimfeld of King’s College London, and colleagues, investigated whether educational achievement may be attributable to individual heritable traits.

The authors reviewed the test scores of 6,653 pairs of twins who took the General Certificate of
Secondary Education exam, which evaluates educational achievement, defined as performance in subjects including maths, science and English.

In addition, the authors evaluated the children for 83 measures of psychological traits including intelligence, personality, and behavioural problems.

Educational achievement was found to be 62% heritable, while individual traits were between 35% and 58% heritable, with intelligence the most highly heritable.

Together, the 83 traits accounted for 75% of the heritability of educational achievement.

According to the authors, the results suggest that the heritability of educational achievement is based on the inheritance of many different traits and not intelligence alone.

The study is published in the journal PNAS.

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