CPC Fellow Harris co-authors study that finds a causal connection between genotypes and educational attainment

Aug 24, 2015

A recent study by Kathleen Mullan Harris and her co-authors found that there is a causal connection between a person's polygenic score and the years of education they achieve. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, also known as Add Health, the sibling with the higher polygenic score typically completed more years of schooling.

The study was published in AERA Open. Harris is Add Health's principal investigator. Harris is a Carolina Population Center Faculty Fellow and is the James Haar Distinguished Professor of Sociology at UNC.

Eureka Alert news release excerpt:

Study finds causal connection between genotypes and years of education achieved

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 20 -- A first-of-its-kind, nationally representative study of siblings supports previously published research on unrelated individuals that links specific genotypes to educational attainment among adults in their mid-20s to early 30s. The research, published today in AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, found that, within families, an adolescent with a higher "polygenic score"--which summarizes previously identified genome-wide associations for educational attainment--than her or his sibling tended to go on to complete more years of schooling.

Several media outlets have reported about this study:

The Add Health project posted a related announcement here.

The study's citation is: Dominique, Benjamin W., Daniel W. Belsky, Dalton Conley, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Jason D. Boardman. 2015. Polygenic Influence on Educational Attainment: New Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. AERA Open. 1 (3): 1-13 DOI: 10.1177/2332858415599972

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