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Genetics plays a significant role in whether young adults choose to go to university, which university they choose to attend and how well they do, a new study suggests. Previous studies have shown that genetics plays a major role in academic achievement at school, with 58 per cent of individual differences between students in GCSE scores due to genetic factors. However, it was unclear if DNA was important in later life. Using data from identical twins to tease out how much of university choice was genetic, researchers from King’s College London found that genes explained 57 per cent of the differences in A-level exam results and 46 per cent of the difference in achievement at university. They also found genetics accounted for 51 per cent of the difference in whether young people chose to go to university and 57 per cent of the difference in the quality of the chosen university. Dr Emily Smith-Woolley, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, who co-led the research said: ‘We have shown for the first time that genetic influence on educational achievement continues into higher education. “Our results also demonstrate that the appetite young adults have for choosing to continue with higher education is in part, influenced by their DNA.” The researchers also found that shared environmental factors – such as families and schools - influenced the choice of whether to go to university, accounting for 36 per cent of the differences between students. However, shared environmental influences appear to become less important over time, become negligible for achievement at university. Dr Ziada Ayorech, from the IoPPN, who co-led the research said: ‘Unlike secondary school, where students tend to share educational experiences, university provides young people with greater opportunity to be independent and to carve out their interests based on their natural abilities and aptitudes. “Students’ unique environments – such as new friends, and new experiences – appear to be explaining differences in university achievement and the role of shared environment becomes less significant.” The results were based on studying 3,000 pairs of twins from the UK as well as 3,000 people who had their gene sequenced. Comparing identical and non-identical twin pairs allows researchers to determine the overall impact of genetics on how much people differ on measures like exam scores. If identical twins' exam scores are more alike than those of non-identical twins this implies the difference between twin pairs is due to genetic factors The results were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
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It's harvest time and the chips are down for potato producers in northern France where a long summer drought could see French spuds shrink in size and volume. The potatoes "first lacked water and then when rain fell in July started growing anew" which means the original plants lost starch and gained too much water, spoiling them, said Regis Dumont, a potato farmer from Warhem near the Belgian border. Then they got a roasting, with temperatures soaring to 37 degrees centigrade (98 Fahrenheit) in August, unusually hot for the northern French plains which account for two-thirds of the national potato crop.
Just days before Warren announced her DNA ancestry results, headlines were warning of a new threat to the genetic privacy of us all. The privacy warnings came from a paper in Science, which proclaimed that detectives, or hackers for that matter, could find the identity of “almost anyone” from a sample of DNA. Of course, if you committed rape or murder and left your DNA at the scene, this DNA matching capability could reveal that you are the perpetrator.
"Ancient Egypt allowed more females into power in the ancient world than any other place on earth. Was that society somehow more progressive than we might expect? The answer is a quick and deflating no."
New research from New York University finds that both men and women see stereotypically male traits such as assertiveness and competitiveness as 'must-haves' for successful leaders. Researchers argue that preference for these certain types of leadership traits could explain why there are fewer women in positions of power. In the findings, published in the journal "Frontiers in Psychology," researchers ran two studies to understand how men and women perceive what makes a great leader by focusing on attributes often associated with certain genders.
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