Researchers identify 538 'intelligent' genes

Genes linked with problem solving powers were associated with the process by which neurons carry signals in the brain

Genes linked with problem solving powers were associated with the process by which neurons carry signals in the brain

Scientists have identified over 500 genes linked to intelligence after comparing DNA variations in more than 240,000 people from around the world. Their analysis identified 538 genes linked to intellectual ability, and 187 regions of the human genome that are associated with thinking skills.

Previous studies have suggested that between 50 per cent and 75 per cent of intelligence is inherited, and the rest comes through upbringing, friendship groups and education.

Genes found to be linked to intelligence also appeared to influence other biological processes, researchers said.

Principal investigator Professor Ian Deary, of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at Edinburgh University, said: "We know environments and genes both contribute to the differences we observe in people's intelligence".

The findings published in Molecular Psychiatry shed fresh light on the biological building blocks of people's differences in intelligence.

Intelligence could be measured with a swab of saliva, or drop of blood, after scientists showed for the first time that a person's IQ can be predicted just by studying their DNA.

The researchers used data from the UK Biobank - a major genetic study into the role of nature and nurture in health and disease. That figure was calculated by studying identical twins who share the same DNA, therefore any differences in IQ between them must be non-genetic.

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