Decoding genetic links to literacy

npj Summary: A new study aims to find the genetic links between reading and literacy ability⎮1 min read
Decoding genetic links to literacy

The ability to read and write is an important skill developed with practice. We learn to decode the letter symbols and related sounds of the alphabet, to spell, read, and identify the meaning of words, and gradually construct these words into sentences to communicate information, convey feelings and acquire knowledge.

In a new study led by Chin Yang Shapland, an international team of researchers wanted to evaluate the genetic relationship between reading skills and literacy related abilities.

Data was sampled from 6453 youths aged from 8 - 13 years from the ALSPAC study, a UK population-based pregnancy-ascertained birth cohort.

The study included structural models that explored links across literacy (the ability to read and write), the phonology of language (the distribution, pattern, and pronunciation of spoken sounds), oral language (how we express information as spoken words), and phonological working memory (temporary memory that holds verbal information).

To find out the results of the study, read the research paper: Multivariate genome-wide covariance analyses of literacy, language and working memory skills reveal distinct etiologies, by authors Chin Yang Shapland, Ellen Verhoef, George Davey Smith, Simon Fisher, Brad Verhulst, Philip Dale and Beate St Pourcain, based at the University of Bristol (UK), Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (The Netherlands), Texas A&M University and University of New Mexico (USA).

Reference:

Shapland, C.Y., Verhoef, E., Davey Smith, G. et al. Multivariate genome-wide covariance analyses of literacy, language and working memory skills reveal distinct etiologies. npj Sci. Learn. 6, 23 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41539-021-00101-y