Polygenetic Score Predicts Educational Attainment

Ben Domingue Assistant Professor (starting 9/2015) Stanford Graduate School of Education

 

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ben Domingue
Assistant Professor (starting 9/2015)
Stanford Graduate School of Education

 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Earlier research has started to illuminate which genetic variants are associated with educational attainment. Subsequent work has taken these variants, combined them into a “polygenic score”, and studied how that polygenic score predicts educational attainment. Our research continues this line of inquiry by examining the predictive performance of that polygenic score in a representative sample of US adults who are now in their 30s. A few notable findings include that:

(A) the polygenic score predicts educational attainment in the African Americans in our sample and

(B) that the polygenic score is associated with neighborhood characteristics. As with earlier research, we are able to show that the higher score sibling from within a family will complete more years of schooling (on average) than their lower score co-sib.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Our study adds to the growing body of knowledge about how genetics predict outcomes that we care about. Although it is unlikely that this score would be used as a basis for intervention, our results may serve as a useful basis for comparison for those polygenic scores (e.g., for cardiovascular disease) which may be of clinical utility.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: As a social scientist, my attention will now be shifting towards research focusing on how the predictive performance of this score may function as a product of the environment in which a focal individual resides.

Citation:

W. Domingue, D. W. Belsky, D. Conley, K. M. Harris, J. D. Boardman.Polygenic Influence on Educational Attainment: New Evidence From the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. AERA Open, 2015; 1 (3) DOI: 10.1177/2332858415599972

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Ben Domingue (2015). Polygenetic Score Predicts Educational Attainment