Linking genes to IQ could lead to treatment for Alzheimer’s, neurodegenerative diseases

| | June 8, 2017
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

[Recently], researchers announced [that] they’d found 40 genes that play a role in shaping human intelligence, bringing the total number of known intelligence genes up to 52. This study was a big deal because while we’ve known intelligence is largely heritable, we haven’t understood the specifics of the biology of IQ….

But there’s also a deep uneasiness at the heart of this research — it is easily misused by people who want to make claims about racial superiority and differences between groups. Such concerns prompted Nature to run an editorial stressing that the new science of genetics and intelligence comes to no such conclusions. “Environment is crucial, too,” Nature emphasized. “The existence of genes ‘for’ intelligence would not imply that education is wasted on people without those genes. Geneticists burned down that straw man long ago.”

We’re going to keep getting better at mapping the genes that make us smart, make us sick, or even make us lose our hair.

…identifying genes associated with intelligence isn’t about making predictions about how smart a baby might grow up to be…Understanding the biology of intelligence could also lead the way for personalized approaches to treating neurodegenerative diseases. It’s possible that two people with Alzheimer’s may have different underlying genetic causes. “Knowing which genes are causing the disease, then, you might be able to tailor the treatment,” [said Danielle Posthuma, study author and a statistical geneticist at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Scientists are finding more genes linked to IQ. This doesn’t mean we can predict intelligence.

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