Parents will always worry about how their child will do academically. Academic success is found to be linked to DNA genetics and some parents may not know that their child was probably already born with what they need to succeed. Children are more likely to succeed in subjects either parent was good at. One study showed that there is a substantial influence of DNA genetics of parents on their children from the start of elementary school all the way through high school.
DNA Genetics and Academics
Studies which showed the link between DNA genetics and academic success have been done on more then 6,000 sets of twins. Using twins for the study helped estimate the proportion of differences that can be explained by genetic factors. It showed that identical twins shared 100% of genes while other family members shared an average of 50%. This is because identical twins are more alike on particular traits, such as achievement in school.
This specific study analyzed their scores from primary school to compulsory education. It showed that the twins academic successes and achievements were stable throughout their time in school. This study also concluded that children who normally do well in primary school tend to do well on certain state testing. Because of this study that was performed on twins, researchers were able to infer that genetics do indeed play a role in academic success.
Broken down through various studies and tests, researchers found that 70% of stable achievement is explained by genetic factors. Stable achievement means grades on standardized tests that remain similar throughout the child’s years in primary and secondary school. Twenty-five percent of genetic success stems from shared environment, such as growing up in the same home and attending the same school. The last 5% was explained as coming from the non-shared environmental factors which could be their teachers, friends or other outside influences. Non-shared environment could affect the child and their academic success by either their grades dropping or increasing throughout the years of schooling.
Because of non-shared environmental influences that could affect a child’s academic success, these studies are somewhat debatable. Think of it this way – a child is in a group of peers that don’t like to learn and slack. This child may do the same so that they feel they fit in. Or maybe there is a teacher who doesn’t fully explain how to do the math work being taught making it harder on the child to understand. DNA genetics do of course play a role, but environmental factors can change that.
Academic Success and the Future
Studies also suggest that DNA genetics influence how well the child will perform academically over the course of their lifetime in school. If findings show that a child will have a harder time in school, then early intervention is necessary. The earlier a parent helps the child with their specific problem in a specific subject, the better. This helps the child academically in the long run because learning to address those issues early on is more likely to help the child achieve academically throughout the course of their time in school.
In the future, polygenic score prediction along with environmental factors (such as friends, schools, teachers, etc.) may provide a tool to help identify if and what problems a child will have academically. This DNA test can even be done right at birth and may be able to identify any learning problems such as reading and math. This way, extra measures can be implemented early on so that the child can have individualized learning programs catered to them, as well as to help them succeed in whatever subjects they would be likely to struggle with.
So do genetics play a role in a child’s academic success? Yes, genetics can definitely play a huge role. We’ve probably all heard parents say things like their child is great at math because they are, or that they are intelligent because their genetics are similar. And they may be right. With more studies and research, parents will be able help their children earlier on with subjects they may struggle to understand in order to increase their performance throughout their years in school as well as throughout their lifetime.
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