Over 500 genes linked to intelligence identified

Over 500 genes linked to intelligence identified

Previous research has suggested "intelligence genes" protect against dementia.

Scientists have identified over 500 genes linked to intelligence after comparing DNA variations in more than 240,000 people from around the world.

Some genes linked to intellectual ability are also associated with living longer, scientists found.

Dr David Hill, of the University of Edinburgh said, 'Our study identified a large number of genes linked to intelligence.

They found that the genes accounted for a difference of up to seven per cent in IQ by boosting the way neurons carry signals in the brain.

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The study also showed that the same genes which influence intelligence are also linked to other biological processes such as length of life'.

It is known that environment and genes both contribute to the differences observed in people's intelligence, said one of the authors Professor Ian Deary from the University of Edinburgh.

They enabled Prof Deary and colleagues at Southampton University and Harvard University in Boston to predict 7 per cent of differences in IQ between an independent group of individuals - by their DNA alone.

Intelligence could be measured from a saliva swab, the University of Edinburgh researchers say.

Researchers were even able to predict intelligence just based on a person's DNA, a breakthrough which could potentially help doctors to diagnose impaired cognitive ability, or allow children to be given an tailor-made education based on their innate abilities. People who had them were less likely to suffer Alzheimer's, depression, schizophrenia and obesity.

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