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Claim: 52 genes tied to human intelligence

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From Carl Zimmer at New York Times:

In ‘Enormous Success,’ Scientists Tie 52 Genes to Human Intelligence

In a significant advance in the study of mental ability, a team of European and American scientists announced on Monday that they had identified 52 genes linked to intelligence in nearly 80,000 people.

These genes do not determine intelligence, however. Their combined influence is minuscule, the researchers said, suggesting that thousands more are likely to be involved and still await discovery. Just as important, intelligence is profoundly shaped by the environment. More.

So? Is this ambivalence an “enormous success” in science today?

If you still subscribe to the New York Times, please quit and save trees.

See also: Science fictions series 4: Naturalism and the human mind

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6 Replies to “Claim: 52 genes tied to human intelligence

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    What definition of ‘gene’ do they use?
    Dennis Noble’s definition?
    What definition of ‘intelligence’ do they use?
    How do they link –functionally and spatiotemporally– the two concepts at different developmental stages?
    Anyone out there can answer these questions?

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Dionisio says:

    Bob O’H:

    Thank you for the link.
    BTW, did you read that paper yet?

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    Here’s a related article:

    Intelligence research should not be held back by its past

    The nuances achieved by modern genetics can be used to dispel a history of racism and elitism.

    http://www.nature.com.edgesuit.....st-1.22021

    Any comments on this?

  5. 5
    Dionisio says:

    The abstract of the referenced article seems like either archaic pseudoscientific hogwash or low grade bovine excreta. Maybe both. It’s discouraging to see so much nonsense written out there. Perhaps the opinion could change after reading the entire article.

  6. 6
    Dionisio says:

    Where’s the beef?

    SNP heritability, the proportion of phenotypic variance explained by SNPs, has been reported for many hundreds of traits.

    Its estimation requires strong prior assumptions about the distribution of heritability across the genome, but current assumptions have not been thoroughly tested.

    By analyzing imputed data for a large number of human traits, we empirically derive a model that more accurately describes how heritability varies with minor allele frequency (MAF), linkage disequilibrium (LD) and genotype certainty.

    Across 19 traits, our improved model leads to estimates of common SNP heritability on average 43% (s.d. 3%) higher than those obtained from the widely used software GCTA and 25% (s.d. 2%) higher than those from the recently proposed extension GCTA-LDMS.

    Previously, DNase I hypersensitivity sites were reported to explain 79% of SNP heritability; using our improved heritability model, their estimated contribution is only 24%.

    Reevaluation of SNP heritability in complex human traits
    Doug Speed, Na Cai, the UCLEB Consortium, Michael R Johnson, Sergey Nejentsev & David J Balding
    Nature Genetics (2017)
    doi:10.1038/ng.3865

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