School Performance Linked to Gene Variants

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 2 (UPI) — Academic performance in adolescents will suffer if their DNA contains one or more of specific dopamine gene variations, a U.S. study says.

Florida State University researchers says performance in at least one of four key subjects — English, math, science or history — can fall during middle and high school based on the interplay of specific genes, a university release says.


“We believe that dopaminergic genes affect GPA because they have previously been linked to factors associated with academic performance, including adolescent delinquency, working memory, intelligence and cognitive abilities, and ADHD, among others,” biosocial criminologist Kevin M. Beaver said. “So, the genetic effect would operate indirectly via these other correlates to GPA and school performance.”

Beaver and colleagues analyzed DNA and lifestyle data from a representative group of 2,500 U.S. middle- and high-school students tracked from 1994 to 2008 in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

“We found that as the number of certain dopaminergic gene variants increased, grade point averages decreased, and the difference was statistically significant,” Beaver said. “For example, the GPA of a student with specific variants of three dopaminergic genes might be around 2.8, versus a GPA of around 3.3 without the variants.”

“Unfortunately, we know that students with lower GPAs are generally more likely to participate in antisocial or criminal activities, and less likely to attend college and earn comparatively higher salaries as a result,” Beaver said.

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Categorized | History, Other
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