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Around half of the genes that influence how well a child can read also play a role in their mathematics ability, say scientists at the University of Oxford, King's College London and UCL, who led a study into the genetic basis of cognitive traits.

While mathematics and reading ability are known to run in families, the complex system of genes affecting these traits is largely unknown.

The finding deepens scientists' understanding of how nature and nurture interact, highlighting the important role that a child's learning environment may have on the development of reading and mathematics skills, and the complex, shared genetic basis of these cognitive traits.

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