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Intelligence – Genetic Predispositions & Risks

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Intelligence (source: Sniekers, 2017)

Intelligence is associated with positive socio-economic and health-related outcomes. In total 78,308 individuals of European descent were examined for effects of genetics on intelligence. Most of the newly discovered variants were in genes that are predominantly active in the brain and are involved in regulating cell development.

Brain volume (source: Zhao, 2019)

Differences in brain volume among people appear to be connected with differences in numerous cognitive and behavioral traits, including intelligence and emotional processing. 23 genetic variants associated with total brain volume.

Cerebral cortex thickness (source: Grasby, 2020)

The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of the brain that is responsible for cognitive tasks such as perception, thought, and memory. The thick cortex of the human brain is believed to have evolved to fulfill these functions. To identify genetic variants associated with cortical thickness, this study combined genetic data with brain imaging data from over 50,000 individuals.

Subcortical brain volume (source: Satizabal, 2019.)

These structures, which include the amygdala, pituitary gland, brainstem, and others, play critical roles in learning, memory, and emotion. By examining the genomes of nearly 40,000 individuals of European ancestry, this study identified 48 genetic variants that correlate with the volume of various subcortical structures in the brain.

Income (source: Hill, 2019)

The researchers identified 149 genomic locations associated with income. Some of the discovered variants are near genes that have previously been linked to intelligence, which suggests intelligence may be a factor that causes differences in income.

Cerebral cortex surface area (source: Grasby, 2020)

The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of the brain that is responsible for cognitive tasks such as perception, thought and memory. It is characterized by folds that increase its surface area.

Left-handedness (source: Wiberg, 2019)

4 novel genetic variants correlated with handedness. Of these, 3 are in or near genes that play a role in the development and organization of the brain, specifically the areas that process language.

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