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Researchers Try To Identify the Intelligence Gene

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the root-of-all-smarts dept.

Medicine 254

An anonymous reader writes "The world's largest brain study to date, with a team of more than 200 scientists from 100 institutions worldwide collaborated to map the human genes that boost or sabotage the brain's resistance to a variety of mental illnesses and Alzheimer's disease. The study also uncovered new genes that may explain individual differences in brain size and intelligence. From the article: 'Following a brain study on an unprecedented scale, an international collaboration has now managed to tease out a single gene that does have a measurable effect on intelligence. But the effect – although measurable – is small: the gene alters IQ by just 1.29 points. According to some researchers, that essentially proves that intelligence relies on the action of a multitude of genes after all.'"

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254 comments

The downside genetic engineering (5, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#39709525)

My intelligence is about all I have going for me. I know it's selfish, but I shudder to think of living in a world where *everyone* is smart by default. I didn't get kicked around all those years by the jocks just to settle for being an average intellect.

Of course, I guess genetic engineering will probably turn everyone into super athletes too. But athletic prowess is a short-term thing anyway. Intellect is supposed to be for the long-term. But when/if the engineering starts, intellects (like athletes) will always be looking over their shoulders at their better engineered youngers gaining on them.

Re:The downside genetic engineering (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#39709607)

My intelligence is about all I have going for me. I know it's selfish, but I shudder to think of living in a world where *everyone* is smart by default. I didn't get kicked around all those years by the jocks just to settle for being an average intellect.

Of course, I guess genetic engineering will probably turn everyone into super athletes too. But athletic prowess is a short-term thing anyway. Intellect is supposed to be for the long-term. But when/if the engineering starts, intellects (like athletes) will always be looking over their shoulders at their better engineered youngers gaining on them.

Who knows, maybe genetic engineering will make athletic ability long term too. You won't get old, just obsolete.

The Downside to Your Logic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709627)

But when/if the engineering starts, intellects (like athletes) will always be looking over their shoulders at their better engineered youngers gaining on them.

I suddenly understand why the United States South keeps repressing evolution and other common topics in schools. You did an excellent job of spreading fear in your post, sir! Way to keep your country in the dark ages!

Re:The Downside to Your Logic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710503)

Other common topics, huh?

A tiny number of schools have done this, it makes big news and generates a lot of protest that commonly leads to a reversal.

So, you know, fuck you, filth, and try pulling your head out of your ass and getting at least a glimmer of reality.

Re:The Downside to Your Logic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710613)

So, you know, fuck you, filth, and try pulling your head out of your ass and getting at least a glimmer of reality.

They have the internet in the South now?

Re:The downside genetic engineering (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | about 2 years ago | (#39709959)

I kind of think we are close to living the future as written about in Nature's End by James W. Kunetka, Whitley Striebe http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/394986.Nature_s_End [goodreads.com]

Genetic manipulation of plants and animals, genetic mental enhancement of humans (plays a pretty big part in the story, I don't want to post an spoiler), Oceans flooding the way they say they will and population immigration because of it, computer worms and how computers run a lot of stuff (I liked the stock program that is 51% correct of the time) and so on. That world really looks like what is happening today just taken to a little bit to the far end of things. I still say it was a pretty good read.

Re:The downside genetic engineering (1)

starshinecruzer (192162) | about 2 years ago | (#39710229)

Intelligence is part nature and part nurture. Barring a global school system where everyone is taught perfectly designed curriculums along with ideal emotional environments while growing up, it'll be impossible for an entire world of identically super-intelligent people to exist.

Re:The downside genetic engineering (5, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#39710525)

Can we at least raise up the lower end? You know, maybe get a majority that stops voting for sociopaths?

Re:The downside genetic engineering (4, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 years ago | (#39710597)

We need to, while we're at it, identify a gene that predisposes people to keep off my lawn.

Re:The downside genetic engineering (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 years ago | (#39710707)

My intelligence is about all I have going for me. I know it's selfish, but I shudder to think of living in a world where *everyone* is smart by default. I didn't get kicked around all those years by the jocks just to settle for being an average intellect.

I wouldn't worry too much. If experience is any guide, any genes involved with intelligence must be recessive.

1.29 plus or minus what? (4, Insightful)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 2 years ago | (#39709561)

Oh, for crying out loud. IQ tests must have a bigger measurement error than plus or minus 2, which means that the 1.29-point alteration is smaller than the measurement error. I.e., no effect.

Re:1.29 plus or minus what? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#39709629)

Oh, for crying out loud. IQ tests must have a bigger measurement error than plus or minus 2, which means that the 1.29-point alteration is smaller than the measurement error. I.e., no effect.

You are thinking about the accuracy of an individual measurement, when averaging large numbers with and without the gene you can get a much greater level of accuracy.

Re:1.29 plus or minus what? (3, Insightful)

weakref (2554172) | about 2 years ago | (#39709673)

I don't think it's applicable. After all we don't even know what we are measuring... It's a very rough estimation of ability to answer certain kind of questions.

Re:1.29 plus or minus what? (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#39709759)

I don't think it's applicable. After all we don't even know what we are measuring... It's a very rough estimation of ability to answer certain kind of questions.

That is a very good point, but what we can say is that if we average a large number of people we will get a very accurate measurement on how the gene correlates with ability to answer those questions. Of course there is not necessarily a causal effect, there could be some other gene that is responsible that happens to occur in similar groups - like blue eyes and blond hair having a correlation but neither being the cause of the other.

Re:1.29 plus or minus what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709835)

Who knows (without RTFAing), maybe this is either the gene for blue eyes, the one for blond hair, or maybe the one for white skin, and they just found out it also controls intelligence? /taunts Godwin

Re:1.29 plus or minus what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710519)

According to a comment with a link, this gene has been associated with height. Mutations lead to giantism or dwarfism, and apparently some researchers think one variant of it leads to slightly higher mental abilities.

Initially provided by MikhailValerie. [newscientist.com]

Re:1.29 plus or minus what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710767)

I dunno, a lot of the really tall people I know are dumb as fucking rocks.

Re:1.29 plus or minus what? (3, Insightful)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 2 years ago | (#39709805)

You are thinking about the accuracy of an individual measurement, when averaging large numbers with and without the gene you can get a much greater level of accuracy.

Precision is not accuracy. The standard deviation on IQ tests [wikipedia.org] is about three points, but that does not mean that by averaging 1,000,000 IQs you can detect effects as small as 0.03 points -- the test is fundamentally incapable of measuring effects that small in the first place.

If your measurement is bad in the first place, averaging large numbers of measurements accomplishes nothing except giving you a false sense of accuracy. A huge pile of shit statistics is still shit.

Re:1.29 plus or minus what? (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 2 years ago | (#39709837)

Whoops. Typo there. For a standard deviation of 3 for one measurement, Gaussian statistics will give you a standard deviation of 0.03 for 10,000 measurements, and 0.003 for 1,000,000 measurements.

Re:1.29 plus or minus what? (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#39710035)

You are thinking about the accuracy of an individual measurement, when averaging large numbers with and without the gene you can get a much greater level of accuracy.

Precision is not accuracy. The standard deviation on IQ tests [wikipedia.org] is about three points, but that does not mean that by averaging 1,000,000 IQs you can detect effects as small as 0.03 points -- the test is fundamentally incapable of measuring effects that small in the first place. If your measurement is bad in the first place, averaging large numbers of measurements accomplishes nothing except giving you a false sense of accuracy. A huge pile of shit statistics is still shit.

No, see Margin of error [wikipedia.org]

Re:1.29 plus or minus what? (2, Interesting)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 2 years ago | (#39710123)

No, see Margin of error [wikipedia.org]

Repeat after me: only for Gaussian distributions, only for Gaussian distributions, only for Gaussian distributions. Any measurement can be assigned a standard deviation, but that doesn't make it Gaussian.

If the errors are not Gaussian, the situation is completely different. For example, if the variation in individual measurements follows a flat distribution instead of a Gaussian distribution, then averaging large numbers of measurements accomplishes exactly nothing. For any measurement, if your margin of error is small enough, the Gaussian approximation breaks down and your accuracy does not increase even if your nominal precision does. Mistaking precision for accuracy is a ubiquitous statistical fallacy.

Re:1.29 plus or minus what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710883)

The errors only need to have the same law and be independant. No need for them to be Gaussians for the standard deviation of the average of all errors to be equal to the standard deviation of the error of a single measure divided by the square root of the number of measures.

Re:1.29 plus or minus what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709685)

You know about hypothesis testing, right? With enough samples any difference in mean can be distinguished to any arbitrary confidence interval, and any sample variance . Note: this can mean LOTS of samples.

Re:1.29 plus or minus what? (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 2 years ago | (#39709847)

You know about hypothesis testing, right? With enough samples any difference in mean can be distinguished to any arbitrary confidence interval, and any sample variance . Note: this can mean LOTS of samples.

Only if the errors can be added in quadrature. Which these almost certainly can't.

Uhh....really? (5, Funny)

netwarerip (2221204) | about 2 years ago | (#39709599)

'According to some researchers, that essentially proves that intelligence relies on the action of a multitude of genes after all.'"

Apparently, those researchers don't have that gene.

Re:Uhh....really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709699)

Genes.

Apparently, /. readers don't have them either.

Re:Uhh....really? (4, Funny)

N0Man74 (1620447) | about 2 years ago | (#39709891)

If only humans had simpler and less powerful brains. Then we might be able to figure out how they work!

Oh... wait....

Re:Uhh....really? (1)

hackula (2596247) | about 2 years ago | (#39710385)

This has to be the most obvious scientific claim of all time. A person's height is controlled by a multitude of genes; who would have actually claimed that intelligence would be controlled by a single gene? Intelligence is not even a single trait. This is like saying:

"Contrary to contemporary scientific belief, the earth is round, and now I have irrefutable proof! Where can I pick up my Nobel Prize?"

Intelligence is like health (1)

MrLogic17 (233498) | about 2 years ago | (#39710765)

I've always thought that intelligence was the result of an optimized system. Sure, any of a thousand genes can decrease intelligence- they decrease optimization. If all of the thousands of genes are set right, you get a system working properly, and hopefully high intelligence.

To look for a single gene that controls intelligence is like looking for the single part that solves performance issues in all computers everywhere.

Put another way, what's the one gene that controlls health? Hey look, a gene that causes cancer if it's mutated. Behold- the health gene!

how can this be (2, Funny)

fche (36607) | about 2 years ago | (#39709619)

But but but, I've been told by my superiors that intelligence is a social construct devised by the white man to keep down the proletariat, and has no biological basis whatsoever.

Re:how can this be (1, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#39709707)

But but but, I've been told by my superiors that intelligence is a social construct devised by the white man to keep down the proletariat, and has no biological basis whatsoever.

Don't worry, they just won't be allowed to publish the correlation with racial groups. I think most researchers got the message after the DNA pioneer James Watson had to retire [nytimes.com] after suggesting a correlation . Of course even if there is a correlation that is no excuse to treat individuals differently because of their racial group, that would be like saying that a white guy could not play basketball because his race is not so good at it.

Re:how can this be (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about 2 years ago | (#39710261)

I wonder how anyone can claim there is NO correlation.

Just try this simulation: take a linear graph, assign every node a vector of numeric attributes (all zeros initially). In every step, for all nodes, all attributes, randomly either add or subtract a random value from the attribute or go halfway towards the value of a neighbour node. Repeat for a crapload of generations.

Now name one of the attributes "skin colour", another "strength", another "intelligence", etc. We know for sure there's no causation. Check for correlation. Interesting, huh?

Re:how can this be (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 2 years ago | (#39710429)

I think most researchers got the message after the DNA pioneer James Watson had to retire after suggesting a correlation

Since he had no scientific basis for that "correlation" whatsoever and was instead basing it on his personal interactions with black employees... yeah, the DNA "pioneer" who stole the whole idea from Rosalind Franklin must've forgot that the personal anecdotes of a racist are not exactly Nobel-worthy scientific observations. Is that a bad message for researchers?

Meanwhile, I'm interested to see how many will jump to using a ~1 point effect on IQ to justify statements like Watson's despite there not being any connection, and being less than what you'll get from a solid day of test preparation tutoring.

Just realize that if as they say there are many genetic factors that affect intelligence, it is unlikely that there are enough such factors isolated in certain populations to make a significant difference -- as in enough that Watson and others' casual observations were borne out in fact.

Re:how can this be (1)

tick-tock-atona (1145909) | about 2 years ago | (#39710367)

Of course intelligence has a biological basis, it's just never been shown that genetics has a stronger effect than environment. Also, there is no identified correlation with this gene and skin colour.

Re:how can this be (1)

Third Position (1725934) | about 2 years ago | (#39710831)

Of course intelligence has a biological basis, it's just never been shown that genetics has a stronger effect than environment.

Wrong. [nature.com]

 

Re:how can this be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710417)

I've been told that it doesn't matter what my innate intelligence is. I'll be judged by the intelligence of my actions. I better work my ass off to fulfill my potential and make smart decisions regardless of my ceiling.

I suspect you've been told the same but aren't intelligent enough to understand the difference.

The gene is MORE prevalent in blacks (1)

l00sr (266426) | about 2 years ago | (#39710631)

What you're implying is wrong in so many ways, I don't know where to start. But how about this: the gene is more prevalent in blacks than whites [discovermagazine.com]. Mod parent racist.

Re:The gene is MORE prevalent in blacks (1)

fche (36607) | about 2 years ago | (#39710887)

"the gene is more prevalent in blacks than whites"

Could you spell out your perceived contradiction?

Dummies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709625)

its like taking one part of the cpu and saying oh look this one does adding....
its the whole brain and how it functions dear sirs im not a scientist and i know this.....

That's the stupidest thing I have heard in a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709653)

This is one of those studies that we're constantly going to hear about in ads for a couple of decades to come and then somebody tries to replicate it and doesn't get a statistically significant result. I bet this gene lets us use 10.1% of our brains or something, right? 1.29%. You have got to be kidding.

Re:That's the stupidest thing I have heard in a wh (2, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#39709933)

This is one of those studies that we're constantly going to hear about in ads for a couple of decades to come and then somebody tries to replicate it and doesn't get a statistically significant result. I bet this gene lets us use 10.1% of our brains or something, right? 1.29%. You have got to be kidding.

a) The "only use 10%" meme is a myth.

b) There's a difference between "big effect" and "statistically significant effect".

Re:That's the stupidest thing I have heard in a wh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710587)

a) The "only use 10%" meme is a myth.

You don't say! Consider that I chose this myth intentionally.

There's a difference between "big effect" and "statistically significant effect".

I know. There's also a difference between correlation and causation. Very small "effects" very often turn out to be accidental correlations. Statistical significance doesn't mean certainty.

more important than this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709669)

...is to acknowledge that it is no more "fair" to discriminate on intelligence than it is to discriminate on sex, race, or any other innate quality.

While giving more resources to the intelligent might be the right option for a functioning society, i.e. we reward the intelligent even though they work no harder than the stupid, it must be understood that we don't do so because they "deserve" it but because we think it will help humanity as a whole.

Government, taxation and welfare for morons and cripples is thus entirely legitimate.

Re:more important than this... (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#39709743)

we reward the intelligent

I think you'd have to start there first, before worrying about avoiding its conclusions. If we're wishing for the moon, we're probably more likely to install a matriarchy first.

Re:more important than this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709903)

install a matriarchy

What, and risk a war every fourth week?

Or maybe its the actions of the learner (1)

jma34 (591871) | about 2 years ago | (#39709683)

Maybe it is the determination and habits of individual learners that is important and not what is in his or her genetic makeup.

Re:Or maybe its the actions of the learner (1)

fleebait (1432569) | about 2 years ago | (#39709777)

Maybe it is the determination and habits of individual learners that is important and not what is in his or her genetic makeup.

Or, maybe it's both, plus family, opportunity, the ability to TEACH ONESELF HOW TO LEARN, plus a good dose of luck (not being struck by the occasional meteor), the ability to delay gratification (saving rather than spending), passion, and a few other things.

I hope I test negative... (1)

arcite (661011) | about 2 years ago | (#39709691)

So I can go on disability. That would give me more time to post on Slashdot! =)

Reliability of IQ Testing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709697)

I admit, IQ Testing does give us a relative gauge of somebody's intelligence, but I feel like the reliability of IQ Testing on a point-for-point basis (in terms of accuracy, precision) isn't good enough to be used for "gene spotting."

exclusive perfect for /. signs of times dept. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709705)

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/hesham100

Researchers Try To Identify the Intelligence gene (1)

dtmos (447842) | about 2 years ago | (#39709711)

. . . right after they identify the meaning of "intelligence."

Re:Researchers Try To Identify the Intelligence ge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709789)

An IQ test gauges your ability to be a single-minded, focused cog in the right sort of machine. It confidently shows that you excel at certain things but fails to consider whether it is because your brain is optimised for particular tasks at the expense of more general performance.

Some people with high IQs apply themselves creatively - as do some people with mediocre IQs. But it's usually those in the higher half of the main part of the bell curve who do interesting things, while those who spend all day banging on about how they're in Mensa and how they're better than 99% of the population usually come to nothing.

For the lucky few... (3, Interesting)

MikhailValerie (2036212) | about 2 years ago | (#39709725)

I noticed that it gets even better, if you are a child of these lucky few:

"When people inherit C-variants from both parents they enjoy double the effect: a rise in IQ of about 2.6."

On another note, I noticed the gene in question HMGA2 was previously linked to a person's height [newscientist.com]. I wonder if an extension of this study would consider any possible correlation between height and intelligence in regards to variations in this gene.

- - -

MV

real life spotted in belly of beast (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709765)

http://www.livestream.com/occupyunity

just kidding?

the intelligence gene (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 years ago | (#39709799)

much like the crime gene, and the gay gene, is probably just another invention to drum up research funding. the modern equivalent of "glands" and "humours," a gene has come only to represent our sadly pedestrian understanding of the genetic sciences.

How long before "Project Chrysalis"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709867)

http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Chrysalis_Project [wikia.com]

* A lot of folks think it'd be a "bad thing", I don't necessarily though... I even asked my nephew & a pal of his (very intelligent young guy, a real "math whizkid" but a touch lazy (what 'kills' guys like that) beat me 1st time he ever played chess, I could not believe it... I've played 1,000's of games of it, & he took me, barely, but he did) about it, know what they said (after I said I think it'd be GREAT to build that "superior man")?

"People would end them, fast..."

I had a hard time with that, but... well?

See, & from what I understand, Hitler & Mengele tried & succeeded in creating these "geniuses", only to find they had 1 very BAD 'downside': Psychotic/Sociopathic behavior patterns & no consciences...

Something to "look out for" I suppose were it to be successful with today's methods @ the genetic level)... do I? No, not if done 'right' (purely a relative term though, & for every thing you could think of? 10 more can & odds are, WILL, go awry).

Personally though, I have NO PROBLEM in creating a better kind of human being... if that's possible that is. Toying with "God's own engineering" (and as the saying goes "God don't make no junk") might be dangerous is all... because I *think* that God & evolution go "hand-in-hand" and we're built to adapt to survive almost anything. Pretty good design, & that evolution IS part of his handiwork.

APK

P.S.=> As Mr. Spock said in the StarTrek TOS episode my subject-line comes from: "The scientsts overlooked 1 important fact: That superior ability breeds superior ambition"...... apk

Impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709875)

I can not be identified...

Wonder if this could lead to new medications... (2)

dryriver (1010635) | about 2 years ago | (#39709877)

Imagine a pill you swallow in the morning with your breakfast, that stimulates a few genes and gives you a 10 - 20 Pt IQ-boost for the rest of the day, so you are extra sharp in your work, in meetings & presentations, in an examination, and so on... Or, if you were born IQ challenged (quite a number of people are in every society), a long-term medical treatment that, over the years, boosts your IQ to average level, or perhaps to even above-average level... A medical cure for being under-powered in the brain department, in other words. That could really change some people's changes in life. Being of below-average intelligence is a handicap that lasts a lifetime and often results in low personal-income, and being sidelined/rejected/excluded by the smart people.

Adderol (sp?) question... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710063)

Doesn't adderal (sp?) have a somewhat similar effect? I've heard it increases "focus" & "concentration" (especially for ADD/ADHD type folks)... correct me where I am "off/wrong", & thanks!

From what I understand, it helps folks do better on IQ tests too, by increasing their ability to concentrate on problems too... could be wrong, I got this via 'hearsay' & "the infamous 'grapevine'"...

* I am always "up" for learning a new thing or being corrected where I am NOT 'strong'...

APK

P.S.=> Thanks in advance for the info. IF you have it that is... apk

Re:Wonder if this could lead to new medications... (1)

RCC42 (1457439) | about 2 years ago | (#39710167)

Imagine a pill you swallow in the morning with your breakfast, that stimulates a few genes and gives you a 10 - 20 Pt IQ-boost for the rest of the day, so you are extra sharp in your work, in meetings & presentations, in an examination, and so on... Or, if you were born IQ challenged (quite a number of people are in every society), a long-term medical treatment that, over the years, boosts your IQ to average level, or perhaps to even above-average level... A medical cure for being under-powered in the brain department, in other words. That could really change some people's changes in life. Being of below-average intelligence is a handicap that lasts a lifetime and often results in low personal-income, and being sidelined/rejected/excluded by the smart people.

The obvious problem is when you take that same principle and apply it to 'sub normal', normal and advanced people equally. If they all have 80, 100, and 120 IQ respectively prior to treatment then afterwards they would have 100, 120, 140 IQ respectively. Yes they would all be improved but the difference remains. Of course I want to point out that IQ scores are a relative thing anyway, and there is no 'objective' IQ value. The average IQ will always be 100, it's just measured based on the rest of the population.

The real issue however arises if you develop a treatment that has a multiplier effect. If you develop a drug that has an effect of 50% increase in intelligence (let's simplifier to IQ for now) then the person with 80 IQ is left with 120, the person with 100 is now left with 150, and the 120 IQ individual now has a score of 180. Prior to treatment there was only a 20 and 40 point difference for the lowest IQ individual compared to the normal and advanced individuals. After treatment the distance has grown to 30 and 60, *increasing* the relative differences in intelligence.

This is of course a massive oversimplification and relies on theoretical assumptions of what can be done to the brain and mind through pharmaceutical or other treatment. I have no idea what the truth would be like, but I think it is important that we look at what it *could* be like.

Re:Wonder if this could lead to new medications... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710507)

Imagine a pill you swallow in the morning with your breakfast, that stimulates a few genes and gives you a 10 - 20 Pt IQ-boost for the rest of the day, so you are extra sharp in your work, in meetings & presentations, in an examination, and so on... Or, if you were born IQ challenged (quite a number of people are in every society), a long-term medical treatment that, over the years, boosts your IQ to average level, or perhaps to even above-average level... A medical cure for being under-powered in the brain department, in other words. That could really change some people's changes in life. Being of below-average intelligence is a handicap that lasts a lifetime and often results in low personal-income, and being sidelined/rejected/excluded by the smart people.

Not everyone responds equally to medications. So the median may rise but the distribution will probably remains the same. Except for those to poor to purchase such medications who will fall further behind. A better future for some will lead to a worse future for others.

Flowers for Algernon (2)

husker_man (473297) | about 2 years ago | (#39710711)

Interestingly, covered in a short story and novel by Francis Keyes. A mentally handicapped man is operated on, and becomes a genius, but loses the intelligence gained and becomes worse than he was.

Flowers for Algernon" [wikipedia.org]
Very interesting but sad story.

Clearly impossible (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39709887)

The study can't be right.
--If it were right, it would mean the randomness that presided over evolution in different part of the job is racist.
--The randomness that governed evolution wouldn't have created such a gene because it would be evil for intelligence to be passed along genetic material.
--Women that selected their mates primarily for their physical appearances would feel guilty if they believed their children would inherit their intelligence along with their appearance, the randomness that governed evolution across the globe wouldn't want that.
--We don't want it to be true therefore it isn't true and if you merely consider there is a possibility it's true, then you're an ignorant racist.

Re:Clearly impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710251)

blah blah blah

Because of course black people can't possibly have any genes in common with the superior white race, that would be icky.

Re:Clearly impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710715)

Why do you think "blacks" when talking about th possibility some people are less intelligent due to genetics? You're a closet racist, and with friends like you, they don't need enemies.

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

webax (1034218) | about 2 years ago | (#39709925)

Science is often naive in its investigation of things that could only possibly be used for benign purposes. My personal preference is that we focus on finding the morality gene before intelligence, and make that a prerequisite requirement for any intelligence improvement. I think even Dr. Evil would agree, he doesn't like competition.

mutually exclusive? (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | about 2 years ago | (#39709977)

Suppose it's discovered that optimizing the genes for athleticism turns off genes for intelligence? And vice-versa?

Then it's one or the other, or mediocrity.

Re:mutually exclusive? (1)

hackula (2596247) | about 2 years ago | (#39710479)

Doubtful. Contrary to the popular stereotype of the puny nerd, height and intelligence actually correlate quite strongly. It does seem a bit unfair in a cosmic sense; everyone SHOULD have their own "different but equal" superpower, but that is not the way it works.

6 genes just for height (4, Informative)

djKing (1970) | about 2 years ago | (#39710031)

I've been told, by a bio ethicist, that there at six genes that influence height. So the idea that's there's just one gene for IQ seems odd.

Re:6 genes just for height (2)

hackula (2596247) | about 2 years ago | (#39710531)

At least 6. And that is completely disregarding the #1 leading factor in height and all other traits: environment. The classic case is seen with genetically identical trees growing on the slope of a mountain. They all have the same genes but the ones at the top have ~half the height as the ones at the bottom due to changes in air density.

Re:6 genes just for height (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710867)

that's because height is well defined, easily measurable and politically neutral.So the science about it can be trusted.

I'll believe what 'intelligence researchers' say when they give a defininition of intelligence that is meaningful and non-circular. Then we can talk about how to measure it. The idea that it can be reduced to a single number is manifestly absurd. All the literature based on single-valued IQ is worthless.

however, this report was nothing to do with intelligence. It was about volumes of certain brain structures.

Intelligence can be trained (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#39710047)

According to some researchers, that essentially proves that intelligence relies on the action of a multitude of genes after all

What it proves is that IQ is not affected by one gene. It could be that intelligence is unaffected by genes, but is a result of training. Also, IQ is a bad measurement of intelligence.

Agreed, 110%... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710527)

In fact, put it this way: I KNOW you can "exercise your mind" & improve it... it adapts, just like the body's musculature does, if you "push it" (I knew this end of it before what I tell you next (former NCAA 1st string/starter lettering athlete for a National Champ in the sport of Lacrosse)).

* We're marvelous instruments... "God Don't make no junk" (& yes, some people think I am 'stupid' for believing there's God, but I don't believe he's anything like we can even begin to describe, but I also believe he's THE 'benevolent force' in this existence too)

APK

P.S.=> Put it this way: When I began my forays into Computer Science? I just could not *get it* on a great many concepts!

(Which scared the hell out of me as I put a lot of monies into it but panic's a GREAT motivator, & the "mother on invention" @ times)

However, I had GREAT help & coaching when it mattered most, right @ the start!

(A fellow whose brother was a pal of mine but I never knew he in highschool, the late Ron Procopio, a later fellow classmate of mine in collegiate academia who went to my same highschool)

Put it this way: Only 10/360 of us made it out of the CSC degree track/discipline/major @ the end into jobs in the working world...

Anyhow/anyways, when I was ready to "give up", he told me:

"Look, just keep @ it - you'll get it, just keep doing it... your mind will adapt to this way of thinking sooner or later, & when you 'hit problems'? Lay it down for awhile, even a whole day. Your mind will even think about it when you sleep to solve it, the longer you look @ it, it'll come, even then. I won't do your work for you, but I will give you pointers & clues when you hit a jam!"

I'll never forget that, or him for telling me that, because it IS truth & I'll always thank him for it, he 'saved me'... & because of he largely, I kept @ it & tried harder too!

To what he said?

Hey - lol, I've woken up out of deep sleeps @ 2-3 a.m. with an idea to solve issues in code before in fact for work-related hassles that could have 'shut down' millions of dollars projects that ended up working great!

(E.G.-> Once taking CPU usage in loops on a Citrix multi-campus business program down from lockups due to 100% cpu usage on remote clients only, not local campus ones (which was odd, but a simple sleep API call in loops solved it because of shared sessions in citrix overloading the middleware drivers to Oracle on SUN midranges, vs. DoEvents calls in VB6))

So what he said & what YOU said... ?

Yes - it works and yes, your mind WILL solve things, and yes, it can be 'trained' as you say, & 'reshaped' to achieve things that @ first, seem like you'll never be able to do (unfortunately, it "changes you" in other ways, there's always some 'push/pull' & 'give/take' when you send resources to one area - you pull from others! Put it this way in more 'mundane terms': I am NOT the guy I once was in some ways (better for the most part, worse in others) because of that)... apk

Re:Agreed, 110%... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710701)

A starting point: Train your mind to use 'at' instead of @. @ is ridiculous, it's the same number of keystrokes, and makes it hard to read.

Who not to sequence (1)

nani popoki (594111) | about 2 years ago | (#39710185)

I hope they eliminate all of the Congresscritters from providing genetic material in this study. Otherwise the signal-to-noise ratio suffers.

Oh yeah! (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#39710373)

Let's all make sure that all kids will have genotype close to a local maximum of intelligence, even if it cuts off the capability to approach global maximum for all future generations!

But what am I complaining about? US society, the only people stupid enough to do anything like that, is already taken over by psychopaths, it's like worrying about European royal families inbreeding.

EQ (1)

hackula (2596247) | about 2 years ago | (#39710435)

IQ? Let's get working on improving EQ through gene therapy. That is where the real ROI exists. EQ has a MUCH larger impact on a person's success by almost any measure.

Psychology (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710555)

You'd get more mileage out of studying the various mental illnesses that the various "extremely intelligent" people in history have had and benefited from. Nash was schizophrenic, several important thinkers had ADD/ADHD (Edison, Einstein, etc.), and others may have had some form of autism. That old saw that "there is a fine line between genius and insanity" is more true than most people give it credit.

Too much intelligence is a bad thing (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 2 years ago | (#39710645)

Our society is already full of smart people that are bored doing menial tasks, or worse, think that the menial tasks are beneath them. I'm supposedly an intelligent person, but I was bored out of my mind when I did inside sales. What about the service industry or factory work? Isolating the factors of intelligence is all good and well, but beyond that we need to leave it alone. No gene therapy to make average intelligence people smarter. No Flowers for Algernon.

Re:Too much intelligence is a bad thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39710771)

If everyone became geniuses, then who would collect my garbage?

If the search for intelligent life failed... (1)

lightenergy (2597715) | about 2 years ago | (#39710819)

then it's not surprising that the search for the gene responsible for it would also fail. But then, it's obviously a waste of time to point that out, LOL.
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