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Smart genes: Nature more than nurture determines exam success

, | | December 16, 2013

A controversial study on twins claims to provide strong evidence that genetic inheritance has a bigger impact on exam success than schooling and parenting.

The study was designed by Robert Plomin of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London and his colleagues, to tease apart the impacts of genes and the environment on educational achievement.

It turns out that nature trumps nurture. After analyzing the GCSE results of 5474 pairs of twins – 2008 of them identical – the team found that genes accounted for 52 per cent of the differences between exam scores. A shared upbringing accounted for only 36 per cent of the differences, with the remainder accounted for by environmental factors that weren’t shared, such as each twin having a different teacher.

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