Scientists have discovered nearly 1,000 new genes associated with intelligence

The researchers found 1016 of specific genes associated with intelligence, most of which was previously unknown to science. An international group of scientists conducted a large-scale study and found 190 new genetic loci and 939 new genes associated with intelligence, significantly expanding our understanding of the genetic bases of cognitive functions. The authors shared their discovery in two articles in the journal Nature Genetics.

Under the leadership of Daniel Posthuma from the free University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands) researchers conducted a genome-wide study of Association, which was attended by nearly 270 000 people of different genders, ages and races. All of them were invited to undergo neurocognitive testing to determine intelligence level. After that, the researchers compared the results with the DNA of the participants and thus determine which genes are associated with cognitive function.

Of the more than 9 million found in a sample changes, the team Postumi found in DNA code 205 sites associated with intelligence (only 15 of them have been isolated) and 1016 specific genes (of which were previously found only 77).

According to the researchers, the discovered genes are related not only intelligence, but also serve a protective function. Scientists have discovered that they have an inverse correlation with Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, depressive symptoms and schizophrenia. At the same time, they had found a correlation with autism, as well as life expectancy. Previously imposed the assumption that smart people will live longer.

“Our results indicate the coincidence of genetic processes associated with cognitive functioning and neurological and psychiatric disorders, which gives the opportunity to think about the possible relationship between the processes causing these correlations,” report the scientists.

“These results are important for understanding the biological bases of cognitive functioning and contribute to the understanding of any associated neurological and psychiatric disorders.”

The work of scientists is based on similar studies, the results of which were published last year. The study then conducted the same group of experts. At that time, scientists were able to identify only 40 new genes associated with intelligence, therefore this year’s analysis covered a large sample of people.

In a separate study, which also led Posthuma scientists conducted another large genome-wide study of Association. This time it was attended by nearly 450 000 people. In the experiment, the experts determine genome substitution 136 significant loci associated with neuroticism and 599 related genes.

Of the total number of identified 124 loci were completely new to science. Moreover, if we consider that up to this point with neuroticism was associated only 16 loci, the discovery of scientists becomes an important step to our understanding of what drives the development of such disorders as depression, anger, and schizophrenia.

According to scientists, there are two different genetic “sub-cluster” of neuroticism: one refers to “depressive affect”, the second as anxiety.

Despite the fact that to fully understand the picture of how it all works, scientists will take some time, the researchers say that now they have the data and check the functional hypotheses that will help to understand the neurobiology of neuroticism.

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