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DNA Helps Scientists Predict Children's Reading Ability

By Piyali Roy staff@sciencetimes.com | Mar 31, 2017 10:11 PM EDT

A new study has led to the discovery of new DNA properties in the human child. The reading ability of the kids can now be predicted by their DNA alone. The scientists involved in the study have developed new kinds of genetic scoring technique which can be used in the prediction.

According to Hindustan Times, the scores involved in the new genetic scoring technique can be useful in identifying and tackling reading difficulties early in the child, rather than waiting for the child to grow and develop these problems in the school time. The genetic scoring involves various types of DNA variants which can show up the difference in reading performances.

The study which was conducted by the researchers comprised of 20,000 DNA variants which explained 5% difference between the children's reading performance. Students, having highest and lowest genetic scores had a difference by two years in the case of their reading performance.

Eurek Alert reports that the study was conducted by the researchers at Kings College London. The study was also published in the journal of The Scientific Studies of Reading. The DNA alone predicting the reading abilities of the child can also highlight the potential for using these genetic scores for predicting the strength as well as weaknesses in child's learning abilities.

Professor Robert Plomin, senior author from the IoPPN at King's College London, said, "We hope these findings will contribute to better policy decisions that recognize and respect genetically driven differences between children in their reading ability." During the research, scientists calculated genetic scores, also known as polygenic scores, for 5,825 individuals from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) which was based on DNA genetic variants.

This was important identification for educational attainment. After reading the genetic scores from the DNA, scientists mapped the different scores against reading ability for children between the ages of 7 and 14.

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