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Brain Lang. 2017 Sep;172:3-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2015.07.008. Epub 2015 Aug 20.

Genetic transmission of reading ability.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address: s.c.swagerman@vu.nl.
2
Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, 9 South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3UD, United Kingdom.
3
Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
4
Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands; EMGO(+) Institute of Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
5
Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, Universiteitsweg 100, 3584 CG Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Reading is the processing of written language. Family resemblance for reading (dis)ability might be due to transmission of a genetic liability or due to family environment, including cultural transmission from parents to offspring. Familial-risk studies exploring neurobehavioral precursors for dyslexia and twin studies can only speak to some of these issues, but a combined twin-family study can resolve the nature of the transmitted risk. Word-reading fluency scores of 1100 participants from 431 families (with twins, siblings and their parents) were analyzed to estimate genetic and environmental sources of variance, and to test the presence of assortative mating and cultural transmission. Results show that variation in reading ability is mainly caused by additive and non-additive genetic factors (64%). The substantial assortative mating (rfather-mother=0.38) has scientific and clinical implications. We conclude that parents and offspring tend to resemble each other for genetic reasons, and not due to cultural transmission.

KEYWORDS:

Cultural transmission; Dyslexia; Environment; Genetic transmission; Heritability; Offspring; Parent; Reading; Sibling; Twin

PMID:
26300341
DOI:
10.1016/j.bandl.2015.07.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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