What Your IQ Is Depends On A Single Gene

If you thank your parents for your intelligence, or blame them for your stupidity, you might be right — but not because of the way they raised you. In fact, a new study provides the most compelling evidence yet that intelligence is affected by a single gene.center

The research, carried out at UCLA and published in Nature Genetics, studied fMRI brain scans and DNA samples of over 20,000 people. Thanks to the massive pool of volunteers, the researchers were able to identify a single gene that has a significant, measurable — but admittedly small — impact upon intelligence.

They found that variations on a gene called HMGA2 can alter IQ by 1.29 points. The variation in the gene is just a single different molecule in its string of DNA. Despite the small difference, it's an amazing discovery to establish that such a small chemical variation can have an effect on human intelligence.

In fact, as well as raising IQ score by 1.29 points, the same gene variation also increases the overall volume of the brain by 0.58 per cent of average brain size — that's equivalent to about two extra teaspoons of brain power.

It's worth noting that the effect is small, and required a huge population of participants to identify. That means that it doesn't have a huge impact on the way we judge each other's intelligence — but it does for the first time demonstrate that single genetic differences have a role to play in determining our cognitive abilities. [Nature Genetics via New Scientist]

Image: Lasse Kristensen/Shutterstock


Comments

    Seeing you're directly comparing IQ with intelligence (which is patently wrong) it makes the article to have little to no value.

    Gotta love sensational headlines. If anything, the research proves that IQ does not depend on any single gene. The fact that according to this study, this individual gene is responsible for 1.29 points on the IQ test means that perhaps 1% of your intelligence can be attributed to it... hardly a dependency for IQ.

    In my experience I have found that most if not all of the people who are high IQ also have a fantastic memory. I have known many very smart people who are complete twits when it comes to every day living and common sense, but they can remember things to exquisite detail.

    Whos this Gene lady whot makes us smarder..?

    I don't pay much attention to these types of studies. Who in the hell keeps giving these people more money for these studies anyway?! First they tell you red wine is bad for you, then another study finds that red wine is actually good for you, then another study will come full circle again...

    And carrying on from what April said - there are plenty of people out there who've earned a PhD or reached some other fantastic academic achievement, yet remain complete idiots... figure that one out.

      Though there are people like the late Dr Feynman who have sky high IQs and are also extremely intelligent in the full sense of the phrase. Don't get sucked in by Hollywood and be anti-intellectual. As Hollywood perpetuates a myth that people with very high IQs are social misfits (lack common sense).

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now