Scientists Identify 52 Genes Linked To Intelligence

First Posted: May 24, 2017 04:51 AM EDT

The scientists have discovered 52 genes linked to human intelligence and there could be thousands more awaiting discovery. These findings could lead to starting new experiments involving biological basis of reasoning and problem-solving. It could also aid the researchers to know which interventions are efficient for children who are struggling to learn.

The findings of the discovery were printed in the journal Nature Genetics. The study was led by Danielle Posthuma, a geneticist at Vrije (Free) University in Amsterdam, and other colleagues. Posthuma said that the findings give new information into the genetic architecture of intelligence, according to Inc.

The study involved over 78,000 adults and children. All of them are Europeans including Britain's BioBank, which is the sampling and examining the whole genomes of volunteers and the database of exceptionally intelligent people and studies of twins. The scientists utilized two kinds of genome-wide analysis to identify genes linked to intelligence. The results showed the discovery of 52 genes that include 40, which are new discoveries, linking them to intelligence.

The researchers stated that the identified genes are mostly in brain tissue, and the pathway analysis suggests that involvement of genes regulating cell development. Their calculations show that the present results explain up to 4.8 percent of the variance in intelligence.

The scientists also found that genes accounted for about 70 percent of the variation in education levels among the people that were examined. In the past studies, they indicate that half a person's intelligence is inherited and the other half to other factors including the environment.

Some of the discovered genes are called SHANK3 and FOXO3. SHANK3 develops the formation of synapses -- the connection between brain cells. Once this gene is altered, it might cause autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia-type 15. Meanwhile, FOXO3 is linked to brain cell death and associated with longevity. Some other genes are linked to Alzheimer's disease and obesity. The remaining genes are for examination and may take years to know how they affect intelligence, disease and other traits, according to NBC News.

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