Genetic covariance structure of reading, intelligence and memory in children

Marieke van Leeuwen, Stéphanie Martine van den Berg, Jiska S. Peper, Hilleke E. Hulshoff Pol, Dorret I. Boomsma

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This study investigates the genetic relationship among reading performance, IQ, verbal and visuospatial working memory (WM) and short-term memory (STM) in a sample of 112, 9-year-old twin pairs and their older siblings. The relationship between reading performance and the other traits was explained by a common genetic factor for reading performance, IQ, WM and STM and a genetic factor that only influenced reading performance and verbal memory. Genetic variation explained 83% of the variation in reading performance; most of this genetic variance was explained by variation in IQ and memory performance. We hypothesize, based on these results, that children with reading problems possibly can be divided into three groups: (1) children low in IQ and with reading problems; (2) children with average IQ but a STM deficit and with reading problems; (3) children with low IQ and STM deficits; this group may experience more reading problems than the other two.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)245-254
Number of pages10
JournalBehavior genetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • METIS-261453
  • IR-73339

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