Social Competence in Parents Increases Children's Educational Attainment: Replicable Genetically-Mediated Effects of Parenting Revealed by Non-Transmitted DNA

Timothy C. Bates, Brion S. Maher, Lucía Colodro-Conde, Sarah E. Medland, Kerrie McAloney, Margaret J. Wright, Narelle K. Hansell, Aysu Okbay, Kenneth S. Kendler, Nicholas G. Martin, Nathan A. Gillespie

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

We recently reported an association of offspring educational attainment with polygenic risk scores (PRS) computed on parent's non-transmitted alleles for educational attainment using the second GWAS meta-analysis article on educational attainment published by the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium. Here we test the replication of these findings using a more powerful PRS from the third GWAS meta-analysis article by the Consortium. Each of the key findings of our previous paper is replicated using this improved PRS (N = 2335 adolescent twins and their genotyped parents). The association of children's attainment with their own PRS increased substantially with the standardized effect size, moving from β = 0.134, 95% CI = 0.079, 0.188 for EA2, to β = 0.223, 95% CI = 0.169, 0.278, p <.001, for EA3. Parent's PRS again predicted the socioeconomic status (SES) they provided to their offspring and increased from β = 0.201, 95% CI = 0.147, 0.256 to β = 0.286, 95% CI = 0.239, 0.333. Importantly, the PRS for alleles not transmitted to their offspring - therefore acting via the parenting environment - was increased in effect size from β = 0.058, 95% CI = 0.003, 0.114 to β = 0.067, 95% CI = 0.012, 0.122, p =.016. As previously found, this non-transmitted genetic effect was fully accounted for by parental SES. The findings reinforce the conclusion that genetic effects of parenting are substantial, explain approximately one-third the magnitude of an individual's own genetic inheritance and are mediated by parental socioeconomic competence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-74
Number of pages5
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • educational attainment
  • non-transmitted genotype
  • parental environment
  • parenting
  • polygenic risk scores
  • PRS
  • SES
  • socioeconomic status
  • virtual-parent design

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