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Like to Read? It's Genetic!

Scientists have discovered that, like so many other things, the enjoyment of reading is in your DNA.

Researcher Phillip Dale says, "Children don't come into this world as clay to be molded. They do have their own interests because there is a genetic component" and "It is often more than one gene that determines the interests a child will learn toward." It's the old nature-versus-nurture controversy. School teachers all say that in their experience, children who are read to by their parents?and who see their parents reading?are much more likely to pick up a book. Like so many other DNA studies, this one was done by interviewing twins?more than 6,000 of them in this case, all of whom are between 8 and 10 years old.

The current study found that both environment and genes account for whether a child will become an avid reader and listener to books, even as a preschooler. Dale wants to reassure parents who often work hard to bring literacy to their children and feel like they have failed if the children have less interest in reading than the they had hoped they would.

He says, "Environment tends to act as the specialist. Reading to children can increase their interest in books but because of the genetic factor, they may never take to the love of books that a parent may have no matter how hard a parent tries to teach it."

Since we are all unique genetically (except for identical twins), this explains why so many families contain a bookworm, even when nobody else in the family reads.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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