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Not Quite the Ivy League Gene

While a new study has found that a person's chances of getting into a respected university is partially heritable, it did not find that a genetic test could predict what school someone might attend, New Scientist reports.

A King's College London-led team of researchers analyzed university success among 3,000 people who undergone genotyping as well as 3,000 twin pairs. As they report in Scientific Reports this week, the researchers found additive genetic influence on university entrance exams, enrollment, school quality, and achievement. They also report that a genome-wide polygenic score predicts about 5 percent of the variance in each university success variable.

As New Scientist notes, this doesn't mean that individuals' academic success solely derives from their genes — there's still a role for the environment. "That could include how much encouragement children get from their family and friends, whether their parents went to university, family wealth, and the quality of teaching at their school," it adds. "Governments can help level the playing field, for example by funding early-years education so children from poorer households don't start school behind."