Same Genes Drive Mathematics and Reading Ability

Science Daily, July 8, 2014

Around half of the genes that influence how well a child can read also play a role in their mathematics ability, say scientists from UCL, the University of Oxford and King’s College London who led a study into the genetic basis of cognitive traits.

While mathematics and reading ability are known to run in families, the complex system of genes affecting these traits is largely unknown. {snip}

The collaborative study, published today in Nature Communications as part of the Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium, used data from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) to analyse the influence of genetics on the reading and mathematics performance of 12-year-old children from nearly 2,800 British families.

Twins and unrelated children were tested for reading comprehension and fluency, and answered mathematics questions based on the UK national curriculum. The information collected from these tests was combined with DNA data, showing a substantial overlap in the genetic variants that influence mathematics and reading.

First author Dr Oliver Davis (UCL Genetics), said: “We looked at this question in two ways, by comparing the similarity of thousands of twins, and by measuring millions of tiny differences in their DNA. Both analyses show that similar collections of subtle DNA differences are important for reading and maths. However, it’s also clear just how important our life experience is in making us better at one or the other. It’s this complex interplay of nature and nurture as we grow up that shapes who we are.”

Professor Robert Plomin (King’s College London), who leads the TEDS study, and one of the senior authors, said: “This is the first time we estimate genetic influence on learning ability using DNA alone. The study does not point to specific genes linked to literacy or numeracy, but rather suggests that genetic influence on complex traits, like learning abilities, and common disorders, like learning disabilities, is caused by many genes of very small effect size. The study also confirms findings from previous twin studies that genetic differences among children account for most of the differences between children in how easily they learn to read and to do maths. Children differ genetically in how easy or difficult they find learning, and we need to recognise, and respect, these individual differences. Finding such strong genetic influence does not mean that there is nothing we can do if a child finds learning difficult–heritability does not imply that anything is set in stone–it just means it may take more effort from parents, schools and teachers to bring the child up to speed.”


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  • This is evidence of the g-factor in intelligence.

    • r j p

      It could be further extrapolated to a g^2.
      g^2 being good (parental) gonads.

    • Carolyn Joseph


      ✪✪✪ ✪✪�✪ ✪✪✪ ✪✪�✪ ✪✪✪

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      Even without the neurophysiological and genetic evidence, the finding of consistent positive intercorrelation of subtest scores, as well as the consistent emergence of the general factor from a correlation matrix of the same subtest scores, is powerful evidence in favor of g-factor. In psychometrics, this is known as the “positive manifold.”

  • Publius Pompilius Quitus

    It is astounding that we’re supposed to believe that homosexuality, criminal tendencies, and even ideology and religiosity are genetic, but intelligence isn’t.

    • adplatt126

      It’s not astounding at all. The American oligarchy will say anything to further its own interests. It rules by force, censorship, propaganda, and delusion, and never by reason. That’s not astounding, it’s expected.

      • Einsatzgrenadier

        According to the same oligarchy, there’s only one race, the human race. Nothing the oligarchy says surprises me any more. Their goal is to completely brainwash and pacify the American public so they can realize their dreams of a mongrelized slave race under the yoke of the big multinational corporations.

        • adplatt126

          Pretty much. I think you’ve summed it up quite aptly.

        • LHathaway

          No, their goal is to eliminate you.

      • Publius Pompilius Quitus

        It is astounding from a perspective of reason, not leftism.

    • So CAL Snowman

      Being born gay is due to genetics but being born White or black is not. This is the world in which we live.

  • propagandaoftruth

    “The study does not point to specific genes linked to literacy or numeracy,”

    But it’s getting there.

    • journey

      And then we will have gone full circle back to the hated word, “eugenics” which earlier was just based on empirical observation. So, now the next PC will be that some genes are racist and are committing discrimination.

      • propagandaoftruth

        Tick tick tick…

        Sooner or later the “ding”, the moment it all becomes too much to deny. It cannot be stopped.

        I like the news from Germany. Looks like the krauts are all over-miffed about a little Ami spying, for their own good, of course.

        Good. I like to see Europeans drifting toward Russia and away from any form of libtardism too closely associated with us. Gives hope.

        Things are coming together now that seem unrelated but they’re not.

        • journey

          It’s is the destiny of mankind to improve the human race by eugenics. Yes, onward we march. The shouts of racism, etc. will be left behind.

          • LovelyNordicHeidi

            Liberals fear the concept of eugenics, but I like it. Eugenics is our way forward. The sooner it is implemented for our race, the more chance we have to stay ahead of the other races.

          • Martel

            I disagree. How do we suffer from low IQ whites?
            Its the high IQ whites who have betrayed their people. I rather give low IQ whites subsidies to reproduce.

          • LovelyNordicHeidi

            I do not disagree with you on who has betrayed us, and I do not disagree with you that all Whites have a value for our race from the point of view of ethnic conflict, but in the end, we need a long-term plan for our betterment, we need to get beyond what we are now. We can select for ethnocentrism and so on. Intelligence is not necessarily the only factor that needs to be taken into account.

          • Martel

            What your proposing is beyond the realm of possibilities. Even if eugenics would become popularized, it would certainly not be used in our advantage,there would be selection against ethnocentric tendencies, naturally this wouldn’t solve the basic problems surrounding ethnic diversity, but it surely wouldn’t help us. I’m content with the quality of our genepool, and there are certainly ways to improve it without resorting to such technical solutions. Gregory Clark wrote a thesis about the average IQ of England rising because successful Englishmen had a higher birthrate then unsuccessful Englishmen.

            Humanbiologicaldiversity dot org explains his thesis as following(HBD dictionary):

            “During Medieval England the upper-classes reproduced at a 2:1 rate over the lower classes, which resulted in a downward drift of people and their genes and which might explain the general decline in violence and the increase in average IQ. Other researchers have found similar phenomena in other European countries”

            England was never in need of an expensive eugenics programs to become one of the greatest nations in history. And again, we do not need it. Currently low ethnocentric whites are either producing less children or they are race-mixing,they are removing themselves from the gene pool, which is what I want. Designer babies could spark renewed interest in reproducing amongst low ethnocentric whites, and reduce the dangers of miscegenation.

          • LovelyNordicHeidi

            I am not going to make an effort to persuade you. You are a smart individual, so all I can expect is that you persuade yourself one day.

          • Martel

            Strategically I don’t see any benefits, but many pitfalls. I care little about the moral arguments in favour or against eugenics, this is not my point. Eugenics would be used to decrease the distinctions between different races/ethnicies, which would only be applied on a percentage of the population, but would usher in a new era of liberals hoping for Arnold Adoff’s ”golden” race.

            Why do you specifically desire the reintroduction of eugenic programs?

          • David Ashton

            Removal from the gene-pool in one direction is entering it from the other. On humanitarian eugenics qv Galton, Karl Pearson, Winston Churchill, Hermann Muller, Julian Huxley, Teilhard de Chardin, Richard Lynn, John Glad, Marian Van Court.

          • David Ashton

            In Britain the welfare system already subsidizes the reproduction of low IQ whites (and others) and their unemployable and often criminal offspring.

          • journey

            My experience with conservative websites, they also fear the word eugenics. They have these backward delusions and fears that eugenics (genetics) is totally connected with Hitler. Just post the magic words, mandatory birth control and eugenics, high emotional shouts of racism, etc will be hurled.

          • LovelyNordicHeidi

            I know. Those conservatives are cowards. Everyone who believes that we should not do something because of Hitler is suffering from what I call Hitler’s syndrome.

          • propagandaoftruth

            Yeah. Hitler never personally leapt off a cliff, therefore we should. He was also pretty well groomed, therefore we should be swine.

            He would have been a terrible boss to work for. The kind that put his subordinates in one double bind impossibility after another.

            Watched a PBS documentary on the Atlantic Wall and another on the development of late war heavy panzers. I was again struck with how destructive he was to his own war effort, constantly pestering experts, meddling in minutiae, obsessed with gigantic “monuments” to…his folk?

            I fully understand why Rommel tried to off the fellow.

          • David Ashton

            Reductio ad Hitlerum – re eugenics, environmentally attractive motorways, immigration control, a goods rather than a bank or gold standard, animal welfare, &c.

            Hitler’s administrative capabilities and strategic planning are matters of genuine debate among objective historians. What can be said is that the ruthlessness of his policies towards the Jews and the Russians lost the “Aryans” the war – and handicapped us in the peace.

          • propagandaoftruth

            Yeah. As we say over here, he really screwed the pooch, epically.

            Germans are amazing Folk, deserved a better Fuhrer than that. Spain was tempted to join – lose Gibraltar = lose the Med = lose the War. Franco figured out what was happening, appears to have impelled him away.

            Millions of Slavs groaning under Stalinist Marxism – undermen. Heck, arm the Jews and send them against you boys in Egypt and Palestine…

            Regardless, he’s more culpable for White Genocide than even the most anti-White crypto-Marxist Jew imaginable, much less “the Jews”.

          • Guest

            “Millions of Slavs groaning under Stalinist Marxism – undermen.”

            The Russian Vladimir Avdeyev says concerning this issue, “…The Third Reich did not fight with Slavism, but with threat of bolshevism to the fundamentals of European civilisation… It was the Bolsheviks, such as Mehlis and open racists like Ilya Ehrenburg that those in Himmler’s department described as “Untermenschen” in an exceedingly anthropological sense of the word…”

          • David Ashton

            Not quite true. The SS issued pamphlets showing eastern Gentiles as inferior, not just Jewish Bolsheviks, and Hitler said that the “Cossacks” should never be armed. True that opinions varied, especially among German Army officers and some specialists. Also true that non-Aryan units were recruited as anti-Soviet volunteers, and Vlasov’s KONR/ROA was supported – too late. However, it took four people to make a war in Europe – Hitler, Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. A Bruderkrieg.

          • David Ashton

            Religious conservatives like secular leftists confuse contraception with murder. In the 1920s Catholic as well as Protestant theologians were quite sympathetic to the aims of eugenicists. There were sympathetic Marxists like Haldane and (get this, Volksgenossen) even Trotsky. Some “right-wing” conspiracy theorists believe there is a world plot to engineer depopulation in Africa and Asia – if only! Israeli doctors are quite cheerfully counselling Tay-Sachs carriers without worrying about Dr Mengele or his musical dog.

          • journey

            David: Thanks for the information on this posting and another one. I need to get educated on some of your mentioned names!

            Always enjoy reading your postings.

          • David Ashton

            Thank you. I regret that our opponents are reduced to personal abuse and smear-labels here and on the other blogs I am tempted to enter.

            Dean Inge and Teilhard de Chardin were also Christian eugenicists. The geneticist H J Muller even wrote a pro-eugenics book “Out of the Night” for the Left Book Club! J B S Haldane, a supporter of Stalin, once said that his views were midway between those of Hitler and the Pope – you could hardly say anything like that today without sending both Laurie Penny of the “New Statesman” and the Director of Public Persecutions into synchronized hysteria.

  • journey

    “it just means it may take more effort from parents, schools and teachers to bring the child up to speed.”

    Hello, anyone home? This country has already spent trillions since the 60’s to prove
    this. Right from the get go, some like Arthur Jensen stated no go. But no, he’s a racist.

    Blacks and now the ever growing Hispanics are still no smarter. Inferior genes cannot be
    changed into superior genes by money and environment (nurture). A good environment can only enhance superior genes (nature). Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

    • JohnEngelman

      The failure of No Child Left Behind gives fresh and public evidence for assertions made in The Bell Curve.

    • Pro_Whitey

      And don’t forget Jason Richwine, formerly of the Heritage Foundation, whose doctoral thesis pointed out persistent shortfalls of hispanic intelligence compared to whites even for those whose ancestors have lived in the U.S. for multiple generations (that is, after we would have expected the Flynn Effect to have done its work). To my knowledge no one ever said his thesis was incorrect, but the mere mention of it was enough to get him fired.

      • journey

        Agreed. All bunch of hypocrites. Always have to do with getting money into the elites’ pockets. When Jason Richwine wrote his 2009 Harvard’s
        dissertation (his Ph.D. was granted based on it), it was fine then for him to state truths and facts. Well, those inconvenient truths are now spoiling their party. This current so called immigration reform has 100% to do with importing cheap labor. Don’t like it, we will open the borders even more to allow the invasion by “children” to brand you people as cold hearted racists if any of you dare object.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    Obvious public policy choice? Egalitarian-Marxist legislation — such as the decade-long No Child Left Behind boondoggle.

    Quoting from the NCLB Executive Summary at the U. S. Department of Education web site, NCLB progress objectives are aimed at “ensuring that all groups of students reach proficiency within 12 years. [To that end] Assessment results and State progress objectives must be broken out by poverty, race, ethnicity, disability, and limited English proficiency to ensure that no group is left behind.”

    No group but the gifted/ambitious/highly intelligent, that is. These would be bored to distraction by the government school systems’ overwhelming concentration on subpar students.

    • Magician

      Engelmantarian-Magician legislation

    • Nancy

      I worked at a private “Christian” school in ATL for a couple years that was struggling with shrinking enrollment due to the recession. So the genius owner/principal decided to cash in on the NCLB provision for kids with IEPs in the public school to have the state pay their private tuition (kinda like Section 8 housing for school…kid is labeled with some kind of learning/behavior disorder, parents claim public school won’t help kid, state pays for private tuition). Within a few years, 90% of the good students leave the private school, and the owner/principal can’t figure out what happened. (She also has issues explaining to SACS why she can’t seem to hold on to teachers for more than a year or two, as we’re so burned out and frazzled by having 90% LD/BD kids in each class. I personally quit in the middle of the school year when our schedule changed and I was stuck teaching a class of over 50% Aspergers kids…THREE DIFFERENT TIMES PER DAY.) None of the teachers were special ed certified, either…GA state rules don’t require it.

      • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

        90 percent! What a horror! I can identify. I taught special ed students for many years. The general rule: gigantic resources and teacher effort = minimal student progress. There are exceptions, of course. But special education and the inordinate resources it commands is a perfect illustration of how the focus of the entire education industry is on the weakest students. The 21st century insanity: Every kid to college.

  • David Ashton

    Musical ability, too.

    “Will this progress never end?” (from the movie “Things to Come”).

  • JohnEngelman

    By the end of this century a DNA test will be as accurate as an IQ test in predicting the future of a seven year old child.

    • Anglokraut

      Which is why my boyfriend and I have both agreed to use genetic testing and modification when we have kids. No way I’m letting something THAT important up to chance.

      • willbest

        Unless you are 8, or worth several hundred million dollars, you will be infertile before it would be available to you.

        • Anglokraut

          I posted a link to another Amren story from a year ago, but for some reason the mods didn’t like it. Go figure.

          Take a look in the story archives to approx. one year ago (July 8, 9, 10 or so) and you’ll find a story about a couple that used genetic screening to select an embryo that didn’t have a specific disease. It was covered by insurance, if I recall correctly.

    • r j p

      By then it will be too late.

    • Bossman

      I listened to a talk on TED by a leading figure in the tech industry. He said that in 30 years, if you want to acquire certain knowledge or skills, all you’ll need to do is swallow a pill and voila, just like that, you’ll know everything about it.

      • journey

        we volunteer you.

    • Tim_in_Indiana

      By the end of this century? Far sooner than that. I put it no later than the end of the next decade.

    • brianreilly

      Seven DAY old child. Even un-implanted fertilized ovum. When eugenics is finally recognized and adopted as official policy (which I am NOT in favor of) there will be licenses for live birth issued dependent on fetal DNA screening, no doubt about it.

      It may result in a better species, but I am not sure it will still be human.

      • Anglokraut

        Being human really isn’t all that great when you could be something better. Chickens want to be eagles, and all that.

        • brianreilly

          And when all humans are eagles (so to speak), and there are no more chickens, will the eagles still think they are eagles? Or will they aspire to something different, a higher form of eagle-ness (so to speak)?

          These really are fascinating times. We are now very close to actually DOING extraordinary things that have been speculated about in both dread and hope, for thousands of years. I hope that wisdom prevails, but am not sure that we have identified to genes for it!

          • Usually Much Calmer

            What the organism aspires to (human or eagle or whatever) is not what matters. What the environment selects for is all that matters.

            Chickens want to be eagles NOW, but there may come a time when it is way better to be a chicken than an eagle. Higher eagleness (in terms of being well adapted to the environment not in terms of the eagle’s lofty ideals) may look a lot like chicken, in other words.

            I agree with you that these are particularly fascinating times.

    • Dave West

      “STUDY: bias found against african americans in DNA test.”
      “Is DNA racist”
      “DNA and white privilege”

  • Sick of it

    “The study also confirms findings from previous twin studies that genetic
    differences among children account for most of the differences between
    children in how easily they learn to read and to do maths.”

    Congratulations, you’ve proven common sense.

  • Anglokraut

    My best friend has three children with varying degrees of dyslexia: her eldest is functionally literate, her middle child is completely illiterate, and her youngest is somewhere in the middle. But here’s the thing: all three are exceptionally bright, with the eldest gifted in music, the middle daughter gifted in mathematics, the sciences, and league softball, and the youngest fascinated with military history and mathematics. They don’t all have the same father, but they do have a mother who reads to them constantly, and a father/stepfather who is dyslexic but listens to books while he is at work. The genetic lottery is a bit of a mixed bag for these kids, but they love to learn in a way which Mestizo and Negro children are simply incapable.

    • Alexandra1973

      My son is autistic but every single teacher and Sunday school/church teacher who’s worked with him has said that he’s really smart and has quite a memory. This kid at one point was reciting the alphabet backwards–and at a fast pace. He’s also starting to add things in his head, something I never thought he’d be able to do when he was little (he’s going on 13). I can show him a clock and ask him how many minutes until a certain time and he quickly has the answer. When he was in preschool I bet he could find his way around town–he knew how to get to certain places, and at that point he was just starting to talk.

      Even mentally retarded children oftentimes have things they are good at. I have a stepbrother who’s retarded but mechanically inclined.

  • MekongDelta69

    Allow me to boil down all these endless Science and Medical ‘studies’:


    Thank you for your valuable time. I’ll be moving on to the next article…

  • Martel

    Scientists just don’t want to conform. When will the political order declare an “obsession with truth” a mental disorder and lock these guys up. They provide Amren-readers with more ammunition every day!

  • John R

    Race is just a social construct, but sexual orientation is not?

    • Dave West

      Yeah apparently sexuality is determined completely by one’s genes, while intelligence and susceptibility to crime are determined by environment and ones privilege; it make a lot on sense, right?

  • cranky_1970

    “Finding such strong genetic influence does not mean that there is
    nothing we can do if a child finds learning difficult–heritability does
    not imply that anything is set in stone–it just means it may take more
    effort from parents, schools and teachers to bring the child up to

    Boilerplate. To be successful you must be a lifelong learner. People who learn easily will go further, faster.

  • dd121

    You mean there may be a REASON some people are smarter than others!?

  • Anglo

    “Finding such strong genetic influence does not mean that there is nothing we can do if
    a child finds learning difficult–heritability does not imply that anything is set in stone–it just means it may take more effort from parents, schools and teachers to bring the child up to speed.”

    Voltaire on Madness: “Madness is to hold an erroneous perception and argue perfectly from it.”

  • journey

    Man is subjected to history and evolution whether he likes it or not. This also includes eugenics. Besides at the present rate, the low IQers are producing too fast. It would be unbearable for the rest of mankind. Want to live in conditions similar to third world countries (such as black/Hispanic majority societies)? One of the battles in the future will be to lessen the reproductive rates of low IQers. There is no other choice. This could be done right now by tying foreign aid with birth control. Al Gore is currently approaching population control, especially in regards to Africa.

    • Usually Much Calmer

      Yes. Many of our posters are well served by the reminder in your first senetnce.

  • propagandaoftruth

    Chronic abusers of the system should be offered some consideration for publicly funded tubal ligations and vasectomies. Potential chronic abusers should be made aware and offered such as well.

  • Alexandra1973

    Flowers for Algernon….

  • willbest

    Yes but that is screening a handful of embryo’s for a dozen markers. Finding an acceptable one where relatively rare diseases are your concern makes the odds good. If the average IQ is 100 and you want a kid with a 120 IQ then 9 in 10 are no longer good. Toss in a couple other important traits along with filtering out diseases and you are talking about hundreds if not thousands of eggs.

  • Usually Much Calmer

    Thank you for sensible reasoning on this.

    “Finding such strong genetic influence does not mean that there is nothing we can do if a child finds learning difficult. . . ”

    Why would it?
    The knee jerk reaction to the unstated false dichotomy struck me as bizarre.

  • Black Plague

    This is all wrong. The only reason my people are failing in life is because of everyone else who wants to keep my people down. I mean, come on, we built mud huts so you know we are highly intelligent. I know what you’re thinking now, but pyramids are overrated!