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Is intelligence written in the genes?
Scientists at Kings College, London, have found the first gene which appears to be directly linked to intelligenceContinue reading ►
By Sarah Knapton, Science Correspondent / telegraph.co.uk
A gene which may make people more intelligent has been discovered by scientists.
Researchers have found that teenagers who had a highly functioning NPTN gene performed better in intelligence tests.
It is thought the NPTN gene indirectly affects how the brain cells communicate and may control the formation of the cerebral cortex, the outermost layer of the human brain, also known as ‘grey matter.’
Previously it has been shown that grey matter plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought and language.
Studies have also proved that the thickness of the cerebral cortex correlates with intellectual ability. However, until now no genes had been identified.
Teens with an underperforming NPTN gene did less well in intelligence tests.
Dr Sylvane Desrivières, from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry and lead author of the study, said: “We wanted to find out how structural differences in the brain relate to differences in intellectual ability.
“It’s important to point out that intelligence is influenced by many genetic and environmental factors.
“The gene we identified only explains a tiny proportion of the differences in intellectual ability.”
An international team of scientists, led by King’s, analysed DNA samples and MRI scans from 1,583 healthy 14 year old teenagers.
Size does matter: Scientists discover gene linking gray matter to intelligence ►
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