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Genetic Testing Could Help You Predict How Well Your Kid Will Do In School

Flickr / World Bank Photo Collection

Many studies seek to help you predict the behavior of your very unpredictable kid, but new research from King’s College London seems straight out of a sci-fi thriller. Scientists are now attempting to use genetic testing to forecast future academic achievement in children. Experts hope this will help educators identify students with learning difficulties earlier. It will definitely make identifying frightened and confused dads easier as well.

The way it works is that scientists use a form of DNA analysis called a polygenic score, which is a formula of individual gene variants used to predict specific traits in people. There are different formulas for different polygenic scores, which are used in genetic testing to predict everything from ADHD to obesity in kids. Researchers looked at students’ academic and polygenic scores at ages 7, 12, and 16 and found that genes had a greater effect on grades as kids got older. Essentially, if you don’t think your genetics are responsible for your kid’s academic performance, give it a minute.

Overall, by age 15, kids with high polygenic scores on average got As and Bs, while those with low polygenic scores received Bs and Cs. Additionally, those with the highest polygenic scores were more than twice as likely to go on to college compared to those with the lowest scores. “We are at a tipping point for predicting individuals’ educational strengths and weaknesses from their DNA,” said Professor Robert Plomin, senior author of the study. Still, experts think that it will be a long time before tests are available to the public. It’s not quite a brave new world, just a brave new study.

[H/T] The Huffington Post

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