Mathematical Ability of 10-Year-Old Boys and Girls Genetic and Environmental Etiology of Typical and Low Performance

Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.
Journal of Learning Disabilities (Impact Factor: 1.9). 12/2007; 40(6):554-67. DOI: 10.1177/00222194070400060601
Source: PubMed


The genetic and environmental etiologies of 3 aspects of low mathematical performance (math disability) and the full range of variability (math ability) were compared for boys and girls in a sample of 5,348 children age 10 years (members of 2,674 pairs of same-sex and opposite-sex twins) from the United Kingdom (UK). The measures, which we developed for Web-based testing, included problems from 3 domains of mathematics taught as part of the UK National Curriculum. Using quantitative genetic model-fitting analyses, similar results were found for math disabilities and abilities for all 3 measures: Moderate genetic influence and environmental influence were mainly due to nonshared environmental factors that were unique to the individual, with little influence from shared environment. No sex differences were found in the etiologies of math abilities and disabilities. We conclude that low mathematical performance is the quantitative extreme of the same genetic and environmental factors responsible for variation throughout the distribution.

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Available from: Claire M A Haworth, Oct 07, 2015
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    • "The items were drawn from the following three categories: Understanding Number, Non-Numerical Processes and Computation and Knowledge. The mathematics battery is described in more detail elsewhere [32]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Does achievement independent of ability or previous attainment provide a purer measure of the added value of school? In a study of 4000 pairs of 12-year-old twins in the UK, we measured achievement with year-long teacher assessments as well as tests. Raw achievement shows moderate heritability (about 50%) and modest shared environmental influences (25%). Unexpectedly, we show that for indices of the added value of school, genetic influences remain moderate (around 50%), and the shared (school) environment is less important (about 12%). The pervasiveness of genetic influence in how and how much children learn is compatible with an active view of learning in which children create their own educational experiences in part on the basis of their genetic propensities.
    PLoS ONE 02/2011; 6(2):e16006. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0016006 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Although several quantitative and molecular genetic studies have reported gene-environment interaction for other cognitive abilities, no such studies have yet focused upon mathematical ability (Asbury et al. 2005; Caspi et al. 2007; Fischbein 1980; Harden et al. 2007; Harlaar et al. 2005; Price and Jaffee 2008). Although mathematics ability has been found to be heritable in our work (Kovas et al. 2005; Kovas et al. 2007b) and the work of others (Alarcón et al. 2000; Husén 1959; Light et al. 1998), it is possible that individual differences in genetic strengths and weaknesses towards learning and using mathematics are accentuated by experiences in home and in school. Conversely, the response of individuals to home and school environments is likely to vary as a function of genetic factors. "
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    ABSTRACT: Mathematics ability and disability is as heritable as other cognitive abilities and disabilities, however its genetic etiology has received relatively little attention. In our recent genome-wide association study of mathematical ability in 10-year-old children, 10 SNP associations were nominated from scans of pooled DNA and validated in an individually genotyped sample. In this paper, we use a 'SNP set' composite of these 10 SNPs to investigate gene-environment (GE) interaction, examining whether the association between the 10-SNP set and mathematical ability differs as a function of ten environmental measures in the home and school in a sample of 1888 children with complete data. We found two significant GE interactions for environmental measures in the home and the school both in the direction of the diathesis-stress type of GE interaction: The 10-SNP set was more strongly associated with mathematical ability in chaotic homes and when parents are negative.
    Behavior Genetics 10/2010; 41(1):141-54. DOI:10.1007/s10519-010-9405-6 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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