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Hundreds of gene variants have been linked to education—just how remains a mystery

More than 1000 genetic variants were linked to schooling in the most comprehensive genetics study ever published, The New York Times reports. The 1271 variants, found in an analysis of 1.1 million genetic sequences from 23andMe and the United Kingdom’s massive Biobank project, may have something to do with the way the brain forms connections between neurons, the researchers report this week in Nature Genetics. But the results cannot be used to determine which individuals are smarter than others—or to influence educational plans for individual students. That’s because environmental influences such as socioeconomic status or parental education are still the most significant indicators of how long students stay in school.

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