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View Full Version : Study shows that genetics play an important role in the attainment of education.....



Amerijoe
01-17-2017, 04:23 PM
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-01-genetics-important-role-offspring.html

lgmayka
01-17-2017, 09:46 PM
At least from the pop-sci description, the study may be meaningless and even downright harmful. Number of years of education, especially during the cited period (1910-1975), is probably most associated with wealth, power, and family history. The rich, the powerful, and the highly educated are far more likely both to encourage their children to aspire to an advanced degree and to provide them with the means to attain one. Does anyone imagine for a minute that George W. Bush would have gotten a bachelor's degree from Yale and an MBA from Harvard if his father had been a gravedigger?

The article's first claim that "there was a genetic factor related to a likelihood of attending school longer" simply means that advanced education tends to run in the families of the rich, the powerful, and the professional. The article's second claim is that such families tend to have fewer children--which is obvious to even the casual observer, for well-known socio-cultural reasons. The article then correctly concludes that over time, such rich/powerful/professional families constitute an ever smaller percentage of the population as a whole.

To be fair: I haven't seen the actual research publication on which this article is based. It is possible that the authors at least attempted to control for all other factors (as if we knew them all!).

Judith
01-17-2017, 10:57 PM
If you have uploaded to dnaland it has been one of their questions on education level. From one of the 23&me bragging forums (it was encouraged) there are a couple of mutations which are supposed to correlate with years of education but they did not give the reference there either.
Personally I did not correlate I should have finished with education about 8 years before I did. But student grants existed in my day. Now it is student loans a bit the opposite.

If anyone is interested enough I will find the relevant DNA position but I did not believe it much.

Saetro
01-26-2017, 12:23 AM
At least from the pop-sci description, the study may be meaningless and even downright harmful.

To be fair: I haven't seen the actual research publication on which this article is based. It is possible that the authors at least attempted to control for all other factors (as if we knew them all!).

No such detail in the article itself http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/01/10/1612113114.full but there may be a supplement somewhere that has details. And after having read a heap of stuff about genetic component of achievement/intelligence since the early 1970s, that detail is vital. For a start, how representative is this measure they used. When we can still not tease out with certainty the relative proportions of nature and nurture (DNA, early upbringing and later upbringing) on success measures. At least they used something that appears to be value free.

In reality their success measure is premature.
What matters is not just the number of offspring, but the number of offspring who have offspring.
There are some big families in the late 1800s of the not well off, but 25% at least had no offspring of their own: the poor are worse marriage prospects.

And have they allowed for those who left?
I live in a colonial country.
In the early days there was vigorous discussion on people's value. Locals were often initially convicts or their children. Secondary imports were free and many had capital.
An overview is more complicated.
Immigrants included people who had ability that could not be rewarded in the home country.
There were also those who their families paid to go away and stay away (and these were educated people!).
Generally, although it could be a crap shoot, those who were more capable were better marriage prospects and had more children.

Competition with USA and Canada for immigrants sometimes involved selection processes extracting the better ones.
At other times free passage brought people who could not afford to pay their way to the Americas and so might not have been so good.
Throughout, the capable have been more successful.
The message is that in a society that has great mobility, the capable will have more offspring who have offspring.
Meritocracy and opportunity have helped to re-populate the upper layers. But noone was around to measure the things in this paper.
How did they measure genetic status in 1910 in this paper? By back projection?

Often, anyone who had enough drive to leave the old country probably had more ability to try new things and more determination to persist.
Even though their reason for leaving was the lack of an opportunity at home.
There is an old Scottish joke from the mid1700s when education was almost universal there but far from it in England.
When a Scot moves to England the intelligence of both countries rises.

The conclusions of their study need to be compared with a country that has been highly stratified for a long time - like the caste system in India, perhaps?
Or some society where occupational roles have been hereditary.