Developmental Biology - COVID-19|
ROBO1 Gene Key in Child's Mathematical Ability
How gene variation gives rise to differences in mathematical ability...
Variation in DNA on a gene called ROBO1 is associated with early anatomical differences in the brain region playing a key role in quantity representation. This discovery potentially explains how genetic variation might shape mathematical performance in children. The study published October 22nd in the open-access journal PLOS Biology. It was written by Michael Skeide of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, along with colleagues.
Specifically, researchers found genetic variants of ROBO1 in young children are associated with grey matter volume in the right parietal cortex, which predict mathematical test scores in second grade.
Mathematical ability is known to be heritable and related to several genes that play a role in brain development. But, how math-related genes might sculpt a developing brain is unclear.
As a result, it's an open question how genetic variation might give rise to differences in mathematical ability. To address this knowledge gap, Skeide and collaborators combined determining the differences in genetic make-up (genotyping) with brain imaging in children without any mathematical training.
Researchers analyzed 18 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) - which are genetic variants that affect a single DNA building block - in 10 genes previously implicated in mathematical performance. Then they examined the relationship between these variants and the volume of grey matter (which mainly consists of nerve cell bodies), across the whole brain in a total of 178 three to six year old children using magnetic resonance imaging. They then identified brain regions where grey matter volumes predict math test scores in second grade.
Variations in the gene ROBO1 — which regulates prenatal brain growth of the outermost layer of neural tissue in the brain — were found to be associated with grey matter volume in the right parietal cortex.
• The right parietal cortex is a key brain region for quantity representation. Moreover, grey matter volume within these regions predicts a child's math test scores at seven to nine years of age.
• According to this research, these results suggest that genetic variability might shape mathematical ability by influencing early development of the brain's basic quantity processing system - the right parietal cortex.
Mathematical ability is heritable and related to several genes expressing proteins in the brain. It is unknown, however, which intermediate neural phenotypes could explain how these genes relate to mathematical ability. Here, we examined genetic effects on cerebral cortical volume of 3–6-year-old children without mathematical training to predict mathematical ability in school at 7–9 years of age. To this end, we followed an exploration sample (n = 101) and an independent replication sample (n = 77). We found that ROBO1, a gene known to regulate prenatal growth of cerebral cortical layers, is associated with the volume of the right parietal cortex, a key region for quantity representation. Individual volume differences in this region predicted up to a fifth of the behavioral variance in mathematical ability. Our findings indicate that a fundamental genetic component of the quantity processing system is rooted in the early development of the parietal cortex.
Michael A. Skeide , Katharina Wehrmann, Zahra Emami, Holger Kirsten, Annette M. Hartmann, Dan Rujescu and the Legascreen Consortium.
Members of the Legascreen consortium are: Michael A. Skeide 1, Indra Kraft 1, Gesa Schaadt 1, Nicole Neef 1, Jens Brauer 1, Liane D?rr 1, Ivonne Czepezauer 2, Bent M?ller 2, Arndt Wilcke 2, Holger Kirsten 2,3,4, Johannes Boltze 5, Frank Emmrich 2, and Angela D. Friederici 1.
1 Department of Neuropsychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany,
2 Cognitive Genetics Unit, Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Leipzig, Germany,
3 Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Epidemiology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany,
4 Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany,
5 School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom.
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Oct 29 2020 Fetal Timeline Maternal Timeline News
DNA variation in a gene called ROBO1 is associated with early anatomical differences in a brain region that plays a key role in quantity representation, potentially explaining how genetic variability might shape mathematical performance in children, according to a study published October 22nd in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Michael Skeide of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, and colleagues.
CREDIT Michael A. Skeide.