Previous studies helped prove that intelligence could be linked to specific genes, 12 of which had already been identified. Now, the latest and largest study on the matter raised the bar by finding an additional 40 new genes that can be undoubtedly associated with the IQ.
Research results were published in the Nature Genetics and helped raise the number of “intelligence genes” to 52.
The study scanned and analyzed genomic data from around 80,000 people with a European ancestry. Then, it compared their unique variations to the particular person’s IQ score. One of the most important elements of this research was its size, as the large number of participants helped make its results more reliable.
“I wasn’t really expecting to find so many significant genes,” said the study author Danielle Posthuma, who is part of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
These 40 New Genes are Part of A Whole
According to the researchers, the discovery of these 40 new genes seems to indicate that it is not one particular factor that determines intelligence. Instead, this appears to be influenced by a large range of genes, and their combined effects.
The team pointed out that some of the new genes could be more strongly associated with the IQ than others. But at the same time, there were no stand-outs or genes that might have a bigger impact than others.
Quite many these 40 new genes participate in the brain’s function and structure. Most seem to play a part in regulating cell development. Some specific genes are involved in synaptic function.
According to the research team, the next step in their study will be to take a closer look at these 40 newly linked genes by inspecting their function. Also, they will try to establish if specific gene variants have a higher expression level in the brain of some individuals when compared to others.
One of the most interesting elements of the discovery was the fact that some of these genes had never before been associated with the IQ. Several others had indicated such a connection even before the study.
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