More and more research continues to show the impact genes play on human behavior. Time will tell how the blank slaters respond.
A massive genetics study relying on MRI brain scans and DNA samples from over 20,000 people has revealed what is claimed as the biggest effect yet of a single gene on intelligence – although the effect is small.
There is little dispute that genetics accounts for a large amount of the variation in people’s intelligence, but studies have consistently failed to find any single genes that have a substantial impact. Instead, researchers typically find that hundreds of genes contribute.
Following a brain study on an unprecedented scale, an international collaboration has now managed to tease out a single gene that does have a measurable effect on intelligence. But the effect – although measurable – is small: the gene alters IQ by just 1.29 points. According to some researchers, that essentially proves that intelligence relies on the action of a multitude of genes after all.
“It seems like the biggest single-gene impact we know of that affects IQ,” says Paul Thompson of the University of California, Los Angeles, who led the collaboration of 207 researchers. “But it’s not a massive effect on IQ overall,” he says.