A new paper in the American Journal of Human Genetics has looked at Australian and Dutch sibling pairs, in order to search for regions in the human genome affecting normal variation in intelligence. Two such regions were identified which happen to overlap with previously identified regions linked to dyslexia and autism. The importance of this paper is that it is the first study to identify possible genetic factors affecting intelligence in normal subjects; in the past, only pathological factors leading to extreme depression of intelligence were known.
American Journal of Human Genetics (Online Early)
A Genomewide Scan for Intelligence Identifies Quantitative Trait Loci on 2q and 6p
Danielle Posthuma et al.
Between 40% and 80% of the variation in human intelligence (IQ) is attributable to genetic factors. Except for many rare mutations resulting in severe cognitive dysfunction, attempts to identify these factors have not been successful. We report a genomewide linkage scan involving 634 sibling pairs designed to identify chromosomal regions that explain variation in IQ. Model-free multipoint linkage analysis revealed evidence of a significant quantitative-trait locus for performance IQ at 2q24.1-31.1 (LOD score 4.42), which overlaps the 2q21-33 region that has repeatedly shown linkage to autism. A second region revealed suggestive linkage for both full-scale and verbal IQs on 6p25.3-22.3 (LOD score 3.20 for full-scale IQ and 2.33 for verbal IQ), overlapping marginally with the 6p22.3-21.31 region implicated in reading disability and dyslexia.