New genetic test can predict children's success

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Children with high polygenic scores were usually raised in comfortable family environments. In fact, children with high polygenic scores tended to advance even beyond in life than their parents did.
Children with high polygenic scores were usually raised in comfortable family environments. In fact, children with high polygenic scores tended to advance even beyond in life than their parents did.

New Delhi : A new international research claims that the success of a person can be determined by looking at genetics. Health experts from the U.S., U.K. and New Zealand have undertaken test of genetics of over 20,000 people and then followed their lives as per the test. Besides following the participants, the scientists studied over 1 million years of life from birth to late life.

To conduct the study, the researchers used a polygenic score to analyze the participants’ genes. A polygenic score takes information from across someone’s genes to measure the genes influence on educational success, career advancement and wealth. The team also analyzed the parent’s education, income, occupation and financial situation to determine social class.

Dan Belsky, assistant professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine is the lead author of the study. “There are now hundreds of individual variations throughout the genome that are roughly associated with educational outcomes between people,” he told Newsweek.

Experts say that environmental factors are often related with polygenic scores. Children with high polygenic scores were usually raised in comfortable family environments. In fact, children with high polygenic scores tended to advance even beyond in life than their parents did.

Belsky’s team also studied siblings of the participants to compare what they achieved in life in relation to their polygenic score. “This is really the strongest test of a genetic association that we can conduct because it controls for any differences in ancestry,” Belsky said. By studying siblings who were raised in the same environment and have the same family history, the scientists can see how their individual polygenic scores relate to their outcome in life.

Study suggest that two kids with the same parents, growing up in the same household, the one with the higher polygenic score tends to go farther as measured by their education, occupational success and their wealth,” Belsky explained. However, the differences in the success between two siblings with different polygenic scores were less than the differences in the success of people from two different families.

The genetic study also indicates that a child’s success is not only determined by their own polygenic score, but the mother’s as well. In fact, the mother’s polygenic score was an even stronger indicator of a child’s success than their own score. 

However, experts never suggest taking polygenic test and predict out how successful you’ll be in life. “There’s nothing in our study that says these genetic variants are a more powerful predictor of outcomes than family backgrounds,” Belsky explained.