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J Learn Disabil. 2007 Nov-Dec;40(6):554-67.

Mathematical ability of 10-year-old boys and girls: genetic and environmental etiology of typical and low performance.

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Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.


The genetic and environmental etiologies of 3 aspects of low mathematical performance (math disability) and the full range of variability (math ability) were compared for boys and girls in a sample of 5,348 children age 10 years (members of 2,674 pairs of same-sex and opposite-sex twins) from the United Kingdom (UK). The measures, which we developed for Web-based testing, included problems from 3 domains of mathematics taught as part of the UK National Curriculum. Using quantitative genetic model-fitting analyses, similar results were found for math disabilities and abilities for all 3 measures: Moderate genetic influence and environmental influence were mainly due to nonshared environmental factors that were unique to the individual, with little influence from shared environment. No sex differences were found in the etiologies of math abilities and disabilities. We conclude that low mathematical performance is the quantitative extreme of the same genetic and environmental factors responsible for variation throughout the distribution.

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