Oliver S. P. Davis a , 1 , 2 , 31 , Gavin Band 3 , 31 , Matti Pirinen 3 , 31 , Claire M. A. Haworth 2 , 4 , Emma L. Meaburn 5 , Yulia Kovas 6 , Nicole Harlaar 7 , Sophia J. Docherty 2 , Ken B. Hanscombe 2 , Maciej Trzaskowski 2 , Charles J. C. Curtis 2 , Amy Strange 3 , Colin Freeman 3 , Céline Bellenguez 3 , Zhan Su 3 , Richard Pearson 3 , Damjan Vukcevic 3 , Cordelia Langford 8 , Panos Deloukas 8 , Sarah Hunt 8 , Emma Gray 8 , Serge Dronov 8 , Simon C. Potter 8 , Avazeh Tashakkori-Ghanbaria 8 , Sarah Edkins 8 , Suzannah J. Bumpstead 8 , Jenefer M. Blackwell 9 , 10 , Elvira Bramon 11 , 12 , Matthew A. Brown 13 , Juan P. Casas 14 , 15 , Aiden Corvin 16 , Audrey Duncanson 17 , Janusz A. Z. Jankowski 18 , 19 , 20 , Hugh S. Markus 21 , Christopher G. Mathew 22 , Colin N. A. Palmer 23 , Anna Rautanen 3 , Stephen J. Sawcer 24 , Richard C. Trembath 22 , Ananth C. Viswanathan 25 , Nicholas W. Wood 26 , Ines Barroso 8 , Leena Peltonen 8 , Philip S. Dale 27 , Stephen A. Petrill 28 , Leonard S. Schalkwyk 2 , Ian W. Craig 2 , Cathryn M. Lewis 2 , Thomas S. Price 29 The Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium Peter Donnelly 3 , 30 , Robert Plomin 2 , 32 , Chris C. A. Spencer b , 3 , 32
08 July 2014
Dissecting how genetic and environmental influences impact on learning is helpful for maximizing numeracy and literacy. Here we show, using twin and genome-wide analysis, that there is a substantial genetic component to children’s ability in reading and mathematics, and estimate that around one half of the observed correlation in these traits is due to shared genetic effects (so-called Generalist Genes). Thus, our results highlight the potential role of the learning environment in contributing to differences in a child’s cognitive abilities at age twelve.
Understanding the genetic basis of cognitive traits could aid the development of numeracy and literacy skills in children. Here the authors show that reading and mathematics have a large overlapping genetic component and suggest that a child's learning environment has a key role in creating differences between them.