Policy News

Scientists Discover Intelligence Genes

Published: Thursday, 18 February 2016 15:59
Written by STEPS
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In a recent study, scientists believe they have taken encouraging steps toward mapping human intelligence systems in relation to genetic inheritance. The investigations focused on two groups of genes located in the brain that Johnson et al. believe may have some influence from one master control system. Specifically, scientists identified two networks of genes, called M1 and M3, which are involved in regulation of other genes. According to the findings, these regions “showed replicable enrichment for common genetic variants underlying healthy human cognitive abilities.” The study harnessed information from subjects’ cognitive abilities in memory, attention, processing speed and reasoning combined with genetic information submitted from people with autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, or intellectual disabilities and information from people with no similar diagnoses. Their computations revealed that the genes congruently responsible for altering the ability and intelligence of healthy people were the same genes that impaired cognitive ability and caused epilepsy when mutated in disabled patients. While there are no known cures for neurodevelopmental disorders, the new information from Johnson, et al. suggests a hopeful future in treating disorders and illnesses such as autism, epilepsy, and schizophrenia. See: http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.4205.html