Science and Tech


Your Reading Genes Are Also Your Math Genes: Study

A new study published in the journal Nature Communications says about 50 percent of your genes affect both reading and math skills.
Posted at 4:28 PM, Jul 09, 2014

Good at reading? Well, you're probably good at math then, too. (Via Getty Images)

That's according to a group of scientists who say around 50 percent of the genes that affect reading also affect math skills.

Researchers looked at 12-year-old children, including twins, from nearly 2,800 British families and had them take a series of tests. What they found was a significant overlap of genes that helped with a child's ability in math AND reading.

The study was done by researchers at the University of Oxford and King's College London and published in the journal Nature Communications. One of the study's authors, Robert Plomin, explains just why this finding is so important.

He says, "Children differ genetically in how easy or difficult they find learning, and we need to recognise, and respect, these individual differences​.​" (Via University College London

But before schools change lesson plans based on a kid's family tree, a few outlets say pump the breaks. 

The Guardian points out, "The study did not identify specific genes linked to numeracy or literacy, and researchers do not know what the various gene variants do."

And the BBC quotes Dr. John Jerrim of the Institute of Education as saying, "Until researchers are able to identify the specific genes that are thought to influence children’s reading and math skills, and show that such associations are robust in numerous academic studies, then such work has little relevance for public policy."

Still, if the findings pan out, they may help better identify which children will need extra help getting up-to-speed with classmates. But that kind of accuracy is a long way off, so don't go trying the "it's not in my genes" excuse on your next assignment.

The researchers noted schooling, home life and other domestic factors are equally as important. (Via Getty Images