There has always been debate surrounding whether people are born “smartypants” or if intelligence something that is attained through hard work and focus. Are human behaviors and development found in our DNA or do external environmental factors shape us?
These questions make up the basis of the nature versus nurture debate, which has long been of interest to many in the scientific community. But now, new research has found that to some extent, intelligence is in our genes.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Edinburgh and is the first-ever study to show how genetic differences, or variants as they are called, in DNA can determine intelligence.
For the study, the researchers analyzed genetic markers in the DNA of 20,000 people looking specifically for any indicators that would match higher or lower IQs or reflect intelligence.
The researchers identified rare genetic variants that appeared to have a determining effect on whether someone was intelligent or not, and these combined variants explained half of the differences in intelligence between the subjects in the study.
The study examined and analyzed both common and rare variants, but it was the rare variants that appeared to have a greater impact on intelligence.
“We used two methods to measure the effect that rare variants had on intelligence,” said Dr. David Hill, a member of the research team. “By combining the effect of both rare and common variants, more than 50% of the differences in intelligence between people could be traced to their genes.”
While a person certainly can’t be born with information or an education, the new research shows that perhaps some get a headstart simply through a genetic gift.
By Kay Vandette, Earth.com Staff Writer