Scientists from King’s College London have used a new genetic scoring technique to predict academic achievement from DNA alone. This is the strongest prediction from DNA of a behavioural measure to date.

The research shows that a genetic score comprising 20,000 DNA variants explains almost 10 per cent of the differences between children’s educational attainment at the age of 16. DNA alone therefore provides a much better prediction of academic achievement than gender or even ‘grit’, a personality trait thought to measure perseverance and passion for long-term goals.

Published today in Molecular Psychiatry, these findings mark a ‘tipping point’ in predicting academic achievement and could help with identifying children who are at greater risk of having learning difficulties.

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