Brain study: human intelligence puzzles solved

Genes responsible for intelligence have been identified

“Nothing in the world is distributed as fairly as the mind. Because everyone is convinced that they have had enough of it, ”recognized the French philosopher, mathematician and scientist René Descartes. From a genetic point of view, the distribution does not seem to be quite as fair. A recent study shows that human brain performance is genetically determined. The researchers were able to identify a group of genes that regulate cognitive abilities.

Can a genius be created by influencing the genes? An Austrian research team from the Medical University of Innsbruck recently laid the foundation for this. The researchers found out why some people are more intelligent than others. The reason is in the genes. The genes responsible for human intelligence were identified for the first time. The research results were recently published in the renowned journal “Plos genetics”.

There is no single intelligence gene

"We know that there is not a so-called intelligence gene, but that many genes each make small contributions," reports the director of the joint institution for neurosciences Georg Dechant in a press release on the study results. This research makes a major contribution to the basic understanding of intelligence, the genetic basis of which little was previously known.

A group of proteins regulates brain performance

As the study shows, a group of proteins in the cell nucleus regulates cognitive abilities. A protein called SATB2 plays a key role in this. This protein binds to the genetic material DNA and thus determines the unfolding. This also explains why people with a mutation in this gene develop mental and learning disabilities. "Using modern biochemical methods, we have now been able to determine a group of proteins that work with SATB2 in nerve cells in the cerebrum," added study author Galina Apostolova.

Is there a new generation of hyper-intelligent people coming?

In the research, the study team clearly found that certain variants of the identified genes are linked to differences in human intelligence. This basic research helps to better understand the higher brain functions. An overly intelligent design person is not to be expected in the near future, because according to the current state of science, these genes can only be influenced to a limited extent. "With so many genes involved, it seems impossible to manipulate intelligence at the molecular level," emphasizes Georg Dechant.

New treatments for psychiatric and neurological diseases

"In any case, our findings are important for the development of new therapies for psychiatric or neurological diseases," said Dechant. With such diseases, cognitive performance is often impaired. The study results are therefore particularly important in the field of so-called molecular psychiatry. (vb)

Author and source information

Video: A New Theory of Human Intelligence. Scott Barry Kaufman. TEDxZumbroRiver (January 2022).