BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Genes predict more than we thought, study shows. Researchers came to the conclusion that genes play a greater role in our education than formerly believed. The study examined the genetic data of over 300,000 Europeans.
A big team of international researchers has identified 74 genes that are linked to a person’s level of education. These genes were very active in the brain even from the prenatal stage and are likely to play a role in neural development. The scientists discovered that people who possessed certain variants of the found genes were more likely to pursue a higher education.
Through the scanning of the genomes of 300,000 study subjects, researchers found which genes relate to various life factors, including education. Scientists discovered that the 74 genes had an effect on some of the individuals, increasing the chances of a university education. However, the number was minimal. The authors of the study state that genetics had a contribution to educational success in less than 0.5 percent of the subjects. Although genetics sets the baseline to education, the environment in which we are raised, and the lifestyle we lead can change the course of our life to a greater extent. So even though genes predict more than we thought, exterior factors play a more significant role in the level of schooling.
In an earlier research, a team of 250 scientists from the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium studied the genomes of only 100,000 people. Only three genes turned up relevant.
In addition to education, researchers found that some variants of the genes shared a connection to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Scientists are now hoping that their findings can be used to investigate diseases and degenerative conditions. The discoveries may help understand why some people are more predisposed to early cognitive decline. Even a single gene can have a measurable impact. Because of this, the study may open pathways for treatment.
Other experts, however, are quick to dismiss the study. They state that no useful information is gained from this approach and institutions and research councils should not continue to fund researches like this.
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