20 September 2010

Genes and IQ: The Connection is Real, But Complex

Robert Plomin, at King's College London, is reporting on a study of 4,000 British children which suggests that over 200 genes are responsible for superior reasoning ability and IQ. More:

SCIENTISTS have identified more than 200 genes potentially associated with academic performance in schoolchildren.
Those schoolchildren possessing the "right" combinations achieved significantly better results in numeracy, literacy and science.
The finding emerged from a study of more than 4000 British children to pinpoint the genes and genetic combinations that influence reasoning skills and general intelligence.
One of its main conclusions is that intelligence is controlled by a network of thousands of genes with each making just a small contribution to overall intelligence, rather than the handful of powerful genes that scientists once predicted.
The researchers believe their work could eventually lead to genetic tests to predict babies' academic potential.

"This kind of research could help us develop genetic tests to predict which kids are at risk of developing problems with their schooling, so that we could intervene to help them," said Robert Plomin, professor of behavioural genetics at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, who will describe his work today at a meeting of the Royal Society.
Scientists have known for years how important gene patterns are to the development of the brain. Specific gene variants can have a crucial effect on the wiring of the brain, and on the speed and efficiency of brain functioning. Individual genes have been identified, which are felt to have an influence on human intelligence, but it is the larger pattern of gene combinations which must be studied and understood.

Human intelligence and cognition are too complex to rely on any one gene. But the computational methods to make sense out of the massive interplay of the hundreds of genes which may affect intelligence have not always been available, or trustworthy.

But slowly, as scientists learn to study the interactions of hundreds of genes, the relationship between human intelligence and gene variants can become more clear. It is an important area of study. Only by thoroughly understanding how our genes make us what we are -- in partnership with our environment -- can we find the best ways to grow into the sort of humans who can boldly step into the hazardous future, and go where things are really scary. But in a good way.

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Blogger gtg723y said...

I do agree that genetics plays a significant role in our intelligence as does our upbringing and environment, but one thing that is left out is desire. I was average at Ga Tech (I'm not complaining just stating a fact) but I was able to achieve higher grades than my classmates. Not because I was smarter, or because I was raised different but because I wanted it more and was willing to work for it and make sacrifices. There is no way to predict something like that, but I fear these studies will become the basis for centralized plans to determine who does what profession.

Monday, 20 September, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

You might be amazed to learn how important genetics is to desire and motivation.

Sunday, 26 September, 2010  

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