Genetics and Education: Recent Developments in the Context of an Ugly History and an Uncertain Future

Published online in:
February 20, 2019

Daphne Martschenko, University of Cambridge
Sam Trejo, Stanford University
Benjamin W. Domingue, Stanford University


Driven by our recent mapping of the human genome, genetics research is increasingly prominent and beginning to reintersect with education research. We describe previous intersections of these fields, focusing on the ways that they were harmful. We then discuss novel features of genetics research in the current era, with an emphasis on possibilities deriving from the availability of molecular genetic data and the proliferation of genome-wide association studies. We discuss both the promises and potential pitfalls resulting from the convergence of molecular genetic research and education research. The floodgates of genetic data have opened. Collaboration between those in the social and biomedical sciences; open conversation among policy makers, educators, and researchers; and public engagement will all prove critical for enacting regulations and research designs that emphasize equity.

Read the news release - "As Genetic Data Expands, Researchers Urge Caution in How Genetic Predictors of Learning and Education Outcomes Are Used" - here