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News Picks : Study finds genetic link between reading and math abilities

By: Physics Today
10 July 2014

BBC: Not only do genes play a key role in a child’s reading and math abilities, but many of the same genes affect both, according to a recent study published in Nature Communications. From their examination of 3000 sets of 12-year-old twins, Robert Plomin of King’s College London and colleagues say that about half the genes that affect a child’s aptitude for reading also affect his or her aptitude for math. However, nongenetic factors, such as parents, teachers, and schools, are just as important, says Plomin. All children can learn, but teaching some children will require more effort on the part of parents and educational systems. The study has been criticized because it fails to pinpoint exactly which genes are involved and therefore is said to have little relevance for public policy.


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