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 Brought to light – chromobodies reveal changes in endogenous protein concentration in living cells
21.09.2018 | NMI Naturwissenschaftliches und Medizinisches Institut an der Universität Tübingen

nachricht A one-way street for salt
21.09.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists present new observations to understand the phase transition in quantum chromodynamics

The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.

This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.

Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Three NASA missions return first-light data

24.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Brown researchers teach computers to see optical illusions

24.09.2018 | Information Technology

Astrophysicists measure precise rotation pattern of sun-like stars for the first time

21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>