Literal gene-ius: The search for a genetic basis of intelligence

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Zhao in the elevator of BGI’s Beijing offices (CREDIT: David Hogsholt, via Wired).

Some people are smarter than others. It seems like a straightforward truth, but those who try to study intelligence, at least in the West, find themselves lost in a political minefield. The trouble starts whenever the heritability of intelligence is discussed, or when intelligence is compared between genders, socioeconomic classes, or—most explosively—racial groupings.

Even IQ researchers are far from in agreement about whether scores can be validly compared between groups of people.

But on an individual level, the evidence points toward a strong genetic component in IQ. Based on studies of twins, siblings, and adoption, contemporary estimates put the heritability of IQ at 50 to 80 percent.

Barely out of his teens, Chinese prodigy Zhao Bowen is leading a multimillion-dollar research effort to solve a genetic mystery: What makes people like him so smart? And how can we make more of them?

Read the full, original story here: Geneius: Why Are Some People So Smart? The Answer Could Spawn a Generation of Superbabies

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