22/07/2019 Biology
DOI: 10.31234/osf.io/2usk8 SemanticScholar ID: 231631257

The Earliest Origins of Genetic Nurture: Prenatal Environment Mediates the Association Between Maternal Genetics and Child Development

Publication Summary

Observed genetic associations with educational attainment may be due to direct or indirect genetic influences. Recent work highlights “genetic nurture”, the potential effect of a parents’ genetics on their child’s educational outcomes via rearing environments. To date, few mediating childhood environments have been tested. We use a large sample of genotyped mother-child dyads (N = 2,077) to investigate if genetic nurture occurs via the prenatal environment. We find that mothers with more education-related genes are generally healthier and more financially stable during pregnancy. Further, measured prenatal conditions explain up to one third of the associations between maternal genetics and children’s academic and developmental outcomes at ages 4-7. By providing the first evidence of prenatal genetic nurture and showing that genetic nurture is detectable in early childhood, this study broadens our understanding of how parental genetics may influence children and illustrates the challenges of within-person interpretation of existing genetic associations.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Liam Hill

Dr. Liam Hill

University of Leeds - Lecturer in Developmental Psychology

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