Saturday February 16, 2019

More Than 1000 Gene Variants Linked to Educational Attainment Identified

However, the total influence of the genetic variants is small, explaining about four per cent of the variation in educational attainment across individuals, the scientists said

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Representational image.

An international team of scientists has identified nearly 1,300 genetic variants associated with how much education someone may complete.

Educational attainment is primarily influenced by environmental and social factors, but it is also influenced by genes associated with, for example, cognitive function such as memory and personality traits such as conscientiousness.

“We found that many of the genes associated with educational attainment are influential in virtually all stages of brain development and in neural communication within the brain,” said Peter Visscher, Professor at the University of Queensland in Australia.

Genetic variants on the X chromosome explain virtually identical amounts of variation in men and women.

This finding, published in the journal Nature Genetics, lends support to the hypothesis that there are no genetically based sex differences in the amount of variation in educational attainment.

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Genetic variants on the X chromosome explain virtually identical amounts of variation in men and women. Pixabay

However, the total influence of the genetic variants is small, explaining about four per cent of the variation in educational attainment across individuals, the scientists said.

“Even variants with the largest effects predict, on average, only about three more weeks of schooling in those who have those variants compared to those who don’t,” said Daniel Benjamin, Associate Professor at University of Southern California (USC)- Dornsife.

“Yet, when we analyze the combined effects of many genetic variants, taken together they can predict the length of a person’s formal education as well as demographic factors,” he added.

Also Read: New Link Found Between Alcohol, Genes And Heart Failure

While the new number is far more than the 74 variants initially discovered in a smaller study two years ago, there are many other genetic variants associated with educational attainment that have not yet been identified, the researchers said.

For the study, the team analysed a combined 71 datasets comprising over 1.1 million participants with European ancestry from 15 different countries and who were least 30 years old. (IANS)

Next Story

Your Genes Determine How Successful Your Married Life Is

They are relevant to how partners provide and receive support from each other.

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They are relevant to how partners provide and receive support from each other. Pixabay

Do you think you could lead a happy married life? The answer is in your genes, a new study has said.

Although prior research has hinted that marital quality is, at least partially, impacted by genetic factors, and that oxytocin may be relevant to social support, according to recent studies, variation on specific genes related to oxytocin functioning impact overall marital quality, in part.

They are relevant to how partners provide and receive support from each other.

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Husbands with a particular genotype were less satisfied with the support they were provided from their wives which suggested that it was also associated with being less satisfied with their marriage, noted Mattson. Pixabay

The study evaluated whether different genotypes – possible genetic combinations of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR)- influenced how spouses support one another, which is a key determinant of overall marital quality.

OXTR was targeted because it is related to the regulation and release of oxytocin.

“Genes matter when it comes to the quality of marriage, because genes are relevant to who we are as individuals, and characteristics of the individual can impact the marriage,” said Richard Mattson, Associate Professor from the Binghamton University in the US.

For the study, the team included nearly 100 couples.

Each partner was asked individually to come up with an issue to discuss something they identify as their most salient personal problem that was not related to their partner or partner’s family such as problems at work.

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Genes matter when it comes to the quality of marriage, because genes are relevant to who we are as individuals, and characteristics of the individual can impact the marriage,” said Richard Mattson, Associate Professor from the Binghamton University in the US. Pixabay

“We found that variation at two particular locations on OXTR impacted the observed behaviours of both husbands and wives, and that differences in behaviour across couples had small but cumulative effects on overall evaluations of support, and thus marital quality in general,” added Mattson, published in the Journal of Family Psychology.

However, what emerged as most relevant to overall marital quality for both partners was genotypic variation among husbands at a specific location on OXTR.

Also Read: U.S. Congresswoman Talks About African Refugees, Aiming Global Human Rights

Husbands with a particular genotype were less satisfied with the support they were provided from their wives which suggested that it was also associated with being less satisfied with their marriage, noted Mattson.

The researchers hope their findings provide the foundation for replication and additional study of OXTR as an enduring determinant of marital functioning. (IANS)