King's College London

Research portal

Pleiotropy across academic subjects at the end of compulsory education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number11713
JournalScientific Reports
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2015

King's Authors

Abstract

Research has shown that genes play an important role in educational achievement. A key question is the extent to which the same genes affect different academic subjects before and after controlling for general intelligence. The present study investigated genetic and environmental influences on, and links between, the various subjects of the age-16 UK-wide standardized GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) examination results for 12,632 twins. Using the twin method that compares identical and non-identical twins, we found that all GCSE subjects were substantially heritable, and that various academic subjects correlated substantially both phenotypically and genetically, even after controlling for intelligence. Further evidence for pleiotropy in academic achievement was found using a method based directly on DNA from unrelated individuals. We conclude that performance differences for all subjects are highly heritable at the end of compulsory education and that many of the same genes affect different subjects independent of intelligence.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454