The study of COMT polymorphism and academic achievement in Chinese cohort

Chang, C. Y.
Yeh, T. K.
Tsao, H. J.
Lin, S. L.
Wu, T. M.
Hu, H. K.
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Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is a methylation enzyme that catalyzes the degradation pathway and inactivates the function of dopamine which has been widely-accepted candidate for modulating dopaminergic physiology and prefrontal cortex function. The COMT Val158Met has been found to be associated with variation of COMT activity that COMT-158Met may advantageous in PFC-related cognitive abilities, however, 158Met may also associate with increased anxiety, depression, and emotional-vulnerable when exposed to stress or educational adversity. We hypothesized that the genetic polymorphism of COMT might associate with academic performance. In this study, 779 healthy Taiwanese 10th volunteers were recruited. Annual national competitive entrance examination (BCT) scores were used to evaluate their academic performance. The results indicated that the Met homozygous carriers exhibited a trend towards impaired performance in all BCT subjects. The finding provides evidence that affective factors might overwhelm cognitive abilities in high-stake tests like the BCT.