Intelligence genes may not be tied to sharp brain

February 26th, 2012 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 26 (IANS) Genes thought to be linked to intelligence may have no bearing on our mental sharpness and identifying its specific genetic roots may still be a long way off, a study reveals.

The study led by researchers David I. Laibson, professor of economics and Christopher F. Chabris, assistant professor of psychology at Union College, Harvard University, examined a dozen genes using large data sets that included both intelligence testing and genetic data.

They found that, in nearly every case, intelligence could not be linked to the specific genes that were tested, according to the journal Psychological Science.

“It is only in the past 10 or 15 years that we have had the technology for people to do studies that involved picking a particular genetic variant and investigating whether people who score higher on intelligence tests tend to have that genetic variant,” said Chabris, according to a university statement.

“In all of our tests we only found one gene that appeared to be associated with intelligence, and it was a very small effect. This does not mean intelligence does not have a genetic component, it means it’s a lot harder to find the particular genes, or the particular genetic variants, that influence the differences in intelligence,” said Chabris.

“As is the case with other traits, like height, there are probably thousands of genes and their variants that are associated with intelligence,” he said.

“And there may be other genetic effects beyond the single gene effects — there could be interactions between genes, there could be interactions between genes and the environment,” Chabris concluded.

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