Researchers announced on Monday that they had found 40 new genes linked to intelligence. However, researchers claim that their finding does not show that there is a connection between the genetic pattern and intelligence. Moreover, intelligence is more complex than anyone previously thought.
Researchers have found 52 genes that influence intelligence. Researchers claim they account for less than 5% of the variation in human intelligence.
Researchers report their findings in the Journal of Nature Genetics, which was led by Danielle Posthuma of VU University Amsterdam.
“These findings provide new insight into the genetic architecture of intelligence,” Posthuma explained.
The study examined a database of more than 78,000 adults and children, all of the European descent. Subjects included in the study included people from Britain’s BioBank, which is a sampling and analyzing of the entire genomes of volunteers, as well as a database of exceptionally intelligent people and twins.
Scientists used two different types of DNA analysis studies to pinpoint genes associated with intelligence, looking the genes in the DNA map.
“We show that the identified genes are predominantly expressed in brain tissue, and pathway analysis indicates the involvement of genes regulating cell development,” they wrote. “Our calculations show that the current results explain up to 4.8 percent of the variance in intelligence.”
One of the studies discovered a gene called SHANK3, which is involved in the formation of synapses, the connections between brain cells. Researchers found mutations in this gene is linked to a type of autism spectrum disorder.
“Mutations in this gene are a cause of autism spectrum disorder, which is characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication, and restricted behavioral patterns and interests. Mutations in this gene also cause schizophrenia type 15,” the researchers wrote.
Another variation of the gene FOXO3 has been linked to brain cell death and brain longevity. Researchers also found genes linked to obesity and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it may take a while before scientists fully understand how these genes influence intelligence.