Editorial summary—DNA methylation signatures of educational attainment

Genetics: DNA methylation as a marker of education

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Mar 23, 2018
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DNA methylation, one of the epigenetic marks in cells, is associated with educational achievement (EA). A team led by Jenny van Dongen from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam tested more than 400,000 sites across the entire genome for their relationship with educational achievement in 4152 Dutch adults. 58 such sites were found that were located in and near genes with neuronal, immune and developmental functions. DNA methylation signatures of EA revealed differential exposure to cigarette smoke, even after accounting for own smoking behaviour, and differential exposure to folate and air pollution. EA predicts differential life conditions, including life expectancy. This study shows that these conditions leave their traces in the methylome of white blood cells and affect gene expression. Future research may investigate how these genes influence individual differences in behaviour, education, and health. 

The original research article is freely available in our companion journal npj Science of Learning here.

Go to the profile of Warren Raye

Warren Raye

Head of Outreach & Partnerships, EMEA & Australasia, Open Research Group, Springer Nature

I joined the Springer Nature Sydney office in July 2015 as Publisher for the Nature Partner Journals portfolio, and was then promoted to Senior Publisher for EMEA, Australia & New Zealand. As of early 2018 I am now working out of Springer Nature's London offices as the Head of Outreach & Partnerships for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Australasia.

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