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Behav Genet. 2012 Jul;42(4):549-58. doi: 10.1007/s10519-012-9527-0. Epub 2012 Feb 15.

Gene-by-socioeconomic status interaction on school readiness.

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  • 1Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis, University of Kansas, 1425 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045, USA.


In previous work with a nationally representative sample of over 1,400 monozygotic and dizygotic twins born in the US, Tucker-Drob et al. (Psychological Science, 22, 125-133, 2011) uncovered a gene × environment interaction on scores on the Bayley Short Form test of mental ability (MA) at 2 years of age-higher socioeconomic status (SES) was associated not only with higher MA, but also with larger genetic contributions to individual differences in MA. The current study examined gene × SES interactions in mathematics skill and reading skill at 4 years of age (preschool age) in the same sample of twins, and further examined whether interactions detected at 4 years could be attributed to the persistence of the interaction previously observed at 2 years. For early mathematics skill but not early reading skill, genetic influences were more pronounced at higher levels of SES. This interaction was not accounted for by the interaction observed at 2 years. These findings indicate that SES moderates the etiological influences on certain cognitive functions at multiple stages of child development.

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