Scientists have discovered 40 new genes connected to intelligence, bringing the total number of “smart genes” to 52. Led by Danielle Posthuma from the VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the study combined existing genomic data of nearly 80,000 unrelated adults and children of European descent, and identified mutations across 52 genes that were related to their intelligence scores, according to a variety of tests.
The research was carried out using two different forms of genetic analysis. One identified mutations in a group of 22 different genes, which in combination could account for almost a 5 percent difference in intelligence measurements.A second analysis that compared whole genes rather than mapping specific mutations found a total of 47 genes, 17 of which had also been found using the first analysis.
All up, 40 of the total number of genes found by both methods hadn’t been previously implicated in intelligence. In recent years, the evidence has piled up in support of the view that genes determine the range of many cognitive functions associated with something called ‘g factor’ – a general measure of cognitive ability that dates back to the early 20th century.