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 A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
21.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Scientists from the MSU studied new liquid-crystalline photochrom

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>