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Hersir
Saturday, April 21st, 2012, 12:15 AM
PARIS: An international team of scientists identified a gene linked to intelligence, a small piece in the puzzle as to why some people are smarter than others.

http://i.imgur.com/YdPDi.jpg
A small variation in a single gene influences brain size and intelligence.

A variant of this gene "can tilt the scales in favour of a higher intelligence", said Paul Thompson, a neurologist at the University of California at Los Angeles, USA, senior author of the study published in Nature Genetics yesterday. "It wouldn't be an enormous change," he said. "Even so, it would help our brain resist cognitive decline later in life."

Thompson stressed, though, that genetic blessings were not the only factor in brainpower.

20,000 brain scans

Searching for a genetic explanation for brain disease, the scientists stumbled upon a minute variant in a gene called HMGA2 among people who had larger brains and scored higher on standardised IQ tests. Thompson dubbed it "an intelligence gene" and said it was likely that many more such genes were yet to be discovered.

The variant occurs on HMGA2 where there is just a single change in the permutation of the four "letters" of the genetic code. DNA, the blueprint for life, comprises four basic chemicals called A (for adenine), C (cytosine), T (thymine) and G (guanine), strung together in different combinations along a double helix.

In this case, the researchers found that people with a double "C" and no "T" in a specific section of the HMGA2 gene had bigger brains on average. "It is a strange result, you wouldn't think that something as simple as one small change in the genetic code could explain differences in intelligence worldwide," said Thompson.

The research was conducted by more than 200 scientists from 100 institutions worldwide, working together on a project called ENIGMA. Thompson said other studies have implicated some genes in IQ, but this was the first to link a common gene to brain size. The discovery came in a study of brain scans and DNA samples from more than 20,000 people of European ancestry from North America, Europe and Australia.

A combination of factors

People who received two Cs from their parents, about a quarter of the population, scored on average 1.3 points higher than the next group - half of the population with only one C in this section of the gene. The last quarter of people, with no Cs, scored another 1.3 points lower.

It is generally accepted that genes, a good education and environmental factors combine to determine our intelligence. "If people wanted to change their genetic destiny they could either increase their exercise or improve their diet and education," said Thompson. "Most other ways we know of improving brain function more than outweigh this gene."

Asked to comment on the research, Tom Hartley, a psychologist at Britain's University of York said he was "a little wary of thinking in terms of a gene for intelligence. "There are undoubtedly a lot of things that have to work properly in order to get a good score on an IQ test, if any of these go wrong the score will be worse."

But he said it was "fascinating" to find that such small genetic changes could affect the size of critical structures such as the hippocampus, the brain's memory centre. "Given the importance of the hippocampus in disorders such as Alzheimer's disease these could turn out to be very significant findings," said Hartley.

John Williams, head of neuroscience and mental health at the Wellcome Trust, a British charitable foundation which backs biomedical research, said the findings paved the way for further research into "structural changes" which occur in disorders such as dementia, autism and schizophrenia.

Source http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/5515/intelligence-gene-found

Feyn
Saturday, April 21st, 2012, 05:06 AM
let me guess, they found this by looking at differences in white DNA and black DNA ^^

Hersir
Monday, June 4th, 2012, 05:06 AM
An international team of scientists identified a gene linked to intelligence, a small piece in the puzzle as to why some people are smarter than others.

A variant of this gene "can tilt the scales in favour of a higher intelligence", said Paul Thompson, a neurologist at the University of California at Los Angeles, USA, senior author of the study published in Nature Genetics yesterday. "It wouldn't be an enormous change," he said. "Even so, it would help our brain resist cognitive decline later in life."

Thompson stressed, though, that genetic blessings were not the only factor in brainpower.

20,000 brain scans

Searching for a genetic explanation for brain disease, the scientists stumbled upon a minute variant in a gene called HMGA2 among people who had larger brains and scored higher on standardised IQ tests. Thompson dubbed it "an intelligence gene" and said it was likely that many more such genes were yet to be discovered.

The variant occurs on HMGA2 where there is just a single change in the permutation of the four "letters" of the genetic code. DNA, the blueprint for life, comprises four basic chemicals called A (for adenine), C (cytosine), T (thymine) and G (guanine), strung together in different combinations along a double helix.

In this case, the researchers found that people with a double "C" and no "T" in a specific section of the HMGA2 gene had bigger brains on average. "It is a strange result, you wouldn't think that something as simple as one small change in the genetic code could explain differences in intelligence worldwide," said Thompson.

The research was conducted by more than 200 scientists from 100 institutions worldwide, working together on a project called ENIGMA. Thompson said other studies have implicated some genes in IQ, but this was the first to link a common gene to brain size. The discovery came in a study of brain scans and DNA samples from more than 20,000 people of European ancestry from North America, Europe and Australia.

A combination of factors

People who received two Cs from their parents, about a quarter of the population, scored on average 1.3 points higher than the next group - half of the population with only one C in this section of the gene. The last quarter of people, with no Cs, scored another 1.3 points lower.

It is generally accepted that genes, a good education and environmental factors combine to determine our intelligence. "If people wanted to change their genetic destiny they could either increase their exercise or improve their diet and education," said Thompson. "Most other ways we know of improving brain function more than outweigh this gene."

Asked to comment on the research, Tom Hartley, a psychologist at Britain's University of York said he was "a little wary of thinking in terms of a gene for intelligence. "There are undoubtedly a lot of things that have to work properly in order to get a good score on an IQ test, if any of these go wrong the score will be worse."

But he said it was "fascinating" to find that such small genetic changes could affect the size of critical structures such as the hippocampus, the brain's memory centre. "Given the importance of the hippocampus in disorders such as Alzheimer's disease these could turn out to be very significant findings," said Hartley.

John Williams, head of neuroscience and mental health at the Wellcome Trust, a British charitable foundation which backs biomedical research, said the findings paved the way for further research into "structural changes" which occur in disorders such as dementia, autism and schizophrenia.

Source http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/5515/intelligence-gene-found

Olavssønn
Monday, June 4th, 2012, 05:15 PM
I don't want to listen! Everyone just KNOWS that there is no biological basis for intelligence and IQ-performance, it is only about culture and environment!

Jokes aside...


"It is a strange result, you wouldn't think that something as simple as one small change in the genetic code could explain differences in intelligence worldwide," said Thompson.

As free, unbiased Science will prove and document time and again in the coming years, small genetic differences can make a considerable difference. Coming improvements in the understanding of genetics will increasingly discredit the ideological egalitarianism.

GroeneWolf
Monday, June 4th, 2012, 05:52 PM
As free, unbiased Science will prove and document time and again in the coming years, small genetic differences can make a considerable difference.

Until they receive the same treatment as psychologists who had studied intelligence and suggested a strong hereditary component on the basis of their research findings.

Neophyte
Monday, June 4th, 2012, 11:07 PM
Intelligence is after all one of the human traits with the highest heritable component, it varies from 0.5 to 0.8 depending on age, so no surprises here.


In this case, the researchers found that people with a double "C" and no "T" in a specific section of the HMGA2 gene had bigger brains on average. "It is a strange result, you wouldn't think that something as simple as one small change in the genetic code could explain differences in intelligence worldwide," said Thompson.

You think that would make people think twice about racial differences the next time they are about to repeat that tired old mantra about how similar we all are. We see this again and again, how even the smallest and most minute changes can have large effects, but for some reason adding one and one together seems so hard for the scientific community that you would suspect that they are all C-deficient.

GroeneWolf
Tuesday, June 5th, 2012, 05:50 AM
You think that would make people think twice about racial differences the next time they are about to repeat that tired old mantra about how similar we all are. We see this again and again, how even the smallest and most minute changes can have large effects, but for some reason adding one and one together seems so hard for the scientific community that you would suspect that they are all C-deficient.

Why they will keep repeating the line about how similar we are can be more easily explained from the political agenda that is behind it. Researchers that are not willing to follow the party line run the risk of loosing their academic positions and/or research grants. And get the unwanted attention of action groups.

Resulting in that scientists who know better have learned to play it safe in order to safe guard their academic careers.

Neophyte
Tuesday, June 5th, 2012, 02:58 PM
Why they will keep repeating the line about how similar we are can be more easily explained from the political agenda that is behind it. Researchers that are not willing to follow the party line run the risk of loosing their academic positions and/or research grants. And get the unwanted attention of action groups.

Resulting in that scientists who know better have learned to play it safe in order to safe guard their academic careers.

Exactly. But that creates dissonances, parts of their edifice that do not exactly fit together, and it is those cracks that we must attack.

"Now, herr doktror doktor professor, if even the smallest differences can cause the greatest effects, and we know that there are plenty of SNPs that can be used to cluster different populations, how would that exclude the possibility of groups being different on the group level? Please help me understand."

Don't state your opinion. Ask them to defend their own. Don't offer them the benefit of a target to attack in order to blur the discussion. That will only activate the mental programming of all the sheep listening. And we don't really care about what the herr doktor doktor professor thinks, do we? What is important is what the audience take with them from the exchange.

svartleby
Thursday, June 7th, 2012, 05:30 AM
It's these same liberal mental gymnastics that keep us from eugenically modifying our populations when modern technology would make it so easy. The same people that are force scientists to write off their own discoveries to be more politically correct are also propagating the myth that even though we've actively bred and spliced desirable traits into plants and animals for a significant portion of human history, it would be "impossible" to do in people.

Olavssønn
Thursday, June 7th, 2012, 09:05 PM
It's these same liberal mental gymnastics that keep us from eugenically modifying our populations when modern technology would make it so easy. The same people that are force scientists to write off their own discoveries to be more politically correct are also propagating the myth that even though we've actively bred and spliced desirable traits into plants and animals for a significant portion of human history, it would be "impossible" to do in people.

Are you now thinking about what's often called "designer babies?"

svartleby
Friday, June 8th, 2012, 12:15 AM
Are you now thinking about what's often called "designer babies?"

You could say that, but on a grander scale. Rather than designer babies I'm talking about designer populations fitted for specialized socioeconomic roles and culturally programmed to both thrive and rejoice in their position as a small part of one of societies many vital organs.

That's my dream anyway, and why I have my political stance listed as fascist.

I think what we've all seen on this forum, as well as a look at history can quite clearly tell all of us which particular group is an ideal candidate for the grey matter of this organic society.