You may feel you are just not a maths person, or that you have a special gift for languages, but scientists have shown that the genes influencing numerical skills are the same ones that determine abilities in reading, arts and humanities.
The study suggests that if you have an academic Achilles heel, environmental factors such as a teaching are more likely to be to blame.
The findings add to growing evidence that school performance has a large heritable component, with around 60 percent of the differences in pupil’s GCSE results being explained by genetic factors.
Although scientists are yet to pinpoint specific genes, the latest work, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that the same ones are involved across subjects.
Robert Plomin, a professor of genetics at King’s College London and the study’s senior author, said: “We found that academic achievement in English, mathematics, science, humanities, second languages and art were all affected by the same genes. People may think that they’re good at one subject and bad at another, but in reality most people are strikingly consistent.”
In the future, if specific genes were identified, nursery children could be screened to help target those who are likely to require more help learning basic skills such as reading and arithmetic, Plomin added.
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