Using Polygenic Scores for Educational Attainment to Probe Genetic Effects on Schooling Outcomes Among Fragile Families

Adrienne Woods , Pennsylvania State University
Arianna Gard, University of Michigan
Erin Ware, University of Michigan
Colter Mitchell, University of Michigan
Daniel A. Notterman, Princeton University

Understanding how DNA influences life outcomes is important to researchers parsing the variability of social science phenomena. We linked the polygenic risk score for educational attainment (Belsky et al., 2016; Rietveld et al., 2013; Lee et al., 2018; Trejo et al., 2018) to schooling outcomes in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a project following an economically and racially diverse group of children from birth through age 15. Polygenic scores for children with European ancestry were significantly and positively associated with teacher-reported grades at age 5 and 9, and with child-reported grades at age 15. However, and most importantly, results differ by ancestry. Though the polygenic scores significantly predicted academic and cognitive outcomes for students of European ancestry, they predicted in-school behavioral outcomes for students with African or Hispanic ancestry. Overall, our results reveal a need for further exploration of this polygenic score, particularly among diverse ancestry groups.

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 Presented in Session 232. Gene-Environment Interaction and Health