The science of human genetics has come a long way in the last 30 years, and new advances are being made every day. Genetics research is the key to figuring out exactly what makes us tick. In a recent discovery, scientists at the Imperial College London have discovered two clusters of genes that they think are directly related to human intelligence. The clusters, know as M1 and M3 have been shown to directly correlate with attention, processing speed, and reasoning.
Neuroscientist Michael Johnson says, “We know that genetics plays a major role in intelligence but until now haven’t known which genes are relevant. This research highlights some of the genes involved in human intelligence, and how they interact with each other.”
Interestingly, the same genes that code for intelligence also are the root cause for conditions like epilepsy and other neurological deficiencies if they malfunction. Johnson went on to say in his report, “Traits such as intelligence are governed by large groups of genes working together – like a football team made up of players in different positions.
We used computer analysis to identify the genes in the human brain that work together to influence our cognitive ability to make new memories or sensible decisions when faced with lots of complex information. We found that some of these genes overlap with those that cause severe childhood onset epilepsy or intellectual disability.”
What is even more interesting is the notion that since scientists now know which genes are responsible for intelligence, those genes could be manipulated to increase brain function. Johnson says, “What’s exciting about this is that the genes we have found are likely to share a common regulation, which means that potentially we can manipulate a whole set of genes whose activity is linked to human intelligence.
Our research suggests that it might be possible to work with these genes to modify intelligence, but that is only a theoretical possibility at the moment – we have just taken a first step along that road.”