Dr. Kathryn Asbury

Senior Lecturer, Department of Education, University of York


Genetic research: A discussion of potential uses and abuses in education

In this session I will present a brief overview of evidence related to the genetic and environmental roots of achievement from primary school through to A Level. I will also describe current developments in molecular genetics that are likely to impinge on education in the short to medium term. We will discuss common reactions, and specifically teachers’ reactions, to this evidence base, and will explore whether genetic research has anything of practical value to offer schools and teachers.


Dr Asbury lectures in Psychology in the University of York’s Department of Education. She is a twin researcher with a strong interest in whether and how findings from behavioural genetic research can inform education. Kathryn is the author, with Robert Plomin, of G is for Genes: The Impact of Genetics on Education and Achievement. Much of her research focuses on using genetically sensitive designs to understand how the environment works. This often involves exploring differences between identical twins. She is interested in teachers’ views on the practicalities and ethics of taking biological information into account when planning education.