Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Low Grades in Adolescence Linked to Dopamine Genes

06.09.2010
The academic performance of adolescents will suffer in at least one of four key subjects –– English, math, science, history –– if their DNA contains one or more of three specific dopamine gene variations, according to a study led by renowned biosocial criminologist Kevin M. Beaver of The Florida State University.

The research sheds new light on the genetic components of academic performance during middle and high school, and on the interplay of specific genes and environmental factors such as peer behavior or school conditions.

“We believe that dopaminergic genes affect GPA because they have previously been linked to factors associated with academic performance, including adolescent delinquency, working memory, intelligence and cognitive abilities, and ADHD, among others,” Beaver said. “So, the genetic effect would operate indirectly via these other correlates to GPA and school performance.”

Findings from the study are described in a paper for which Beaver served as lead author that was published online Aug. 30 in the journal Intelligence. He and his coauthors performed their groundbreaking analysis using DNA and lifestyle data from a representative group of 2,500 U.S. middle- and high-school students who were tracked from 1994 to 2008 in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

“We found that as the number of certain dopaminergic gene variants increased, grade point averages decreased, and the difference was statistically significant,” Beaver said. “For example, the GPA of a student with specific variants of three dopaminergic genes might be around 2.8, versus a GPA of around 3.3 without the variants. That could mean the difference between being accepted into a college versus being rejected.

“Unfortunately, we know that students with lower GPAs are generally more likely to participate in antisocial or criminal activities, and less likely to attend college and earn comparatively higher salaries as a result.”

The researchers also uncovered a correlation between the variants of dopamine genes that a student possessed and his or her GPA in different subject areas.

For instance, they found a marginally significant negative effect on English grades for students with a single dopamine variant in a gene known as DAT1, but no apparent effect on math, history or science. In contrast, a variant in the DRD2 gene was correlated with a markedly negative effect on grades in all four subjects. Students with a single, DRD4 variant had significantly lower grades in English and math, but only marginally lower grades in history and science.

Previous, cutting-edge genetic research in biosocial criminology has revealed the mutual interdependence of genes and environment –– which means, said Beaver, that certain genetic factors may wield tangible effects when paired with certain environmental factors.

“It is quite likely that a similar feedback loop exists with GPA, whereby the genetic liability for low GPA could be moderated by environmental conditions such as school structural characteristics, teacher performance, or behavior of other students,” he said.

“If that is true, then findings such as ours could help lead to more effective, innovative ways of enhancing school and individual performance.”

The paper (“Three dopaminergic polymorphisms are associated with academic achievement in middle and high school”) coauthored by Beaver and researchers at St. Louis University, Iowa State University, and the universities of North Carolina and Cincinnati can be accessed via the Science Direct website at www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01602896.

Beaver is an associate professor in the FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the coauthor of more than 100 published papers on the biosocial underpinnings of antisocial and criminal behavior. To date, his body of research includes work that links the use of steroids to “roid rage” and genetics to adolescent victimization, formation of delinquent peer groups, and gun violence among gang members –– all among the first such works in the field of biosocial criminology. He won the American Society of Criminology’s 2009 Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award, in recognition of his outstanding scholarly contributions. Beaver is the coauthor/editor of “Biosocial Criminology: A Primer” (Kendall/Hunt, 2009) and six other books.

Learn more about The Florida State University’s distinguished College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at www.criminology.fsu.edu/.

CONTACT: Kevin M. Beaver, (850) 644-9180; kbeaver@fsu.edu

Kevin M. Beaver | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.fsu.edu

Further reports about: DNA GPa beaver dopamine environmental factors gene variant genes specific gene

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Navigational view of the brain thanks to powerful X-rays
18.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

nachricht Separating methane and CO2 will become more efficient
18.10.2017 | KU Leuven

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Osaka university researchers make the slipperiest surfaces adhesive

18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>