Tuesday, 8 August, 2000 UK
Genius of genes

To what extent is one's IQ written in the genes
By BBC science correspondent Pallab Ghosh

An excerpt:

"We have had the scientific community denying the obvious" - Charles Murray

US researchers believe they have identified the parts of the human genome involved in developing a person's intelligence. This means scientists could soon test the potential intelligence of new-born babies.

The discovery has been seized on by some on the Right who claim it backs their view that the way people turn out depends more on the genes with which they are born rather than on the schools they attend.

Others have warned the discovery gives succour to those parents who would wish to improve their children through genetic engineering. The researchers, working for the US National Institutes of Health, analysed the DNA of 200 of the brightest kids in America and compared them with the genetic material from ordinary children. The results are due out next year, but the BBC Newsnight programme has learned that key differences have been found. In other words, the scientists are homing in on the genes for genius.

The team believe more than one gene is involved - and that these genes can make a big difference to a person's intelligence. The research was led by Professor Robert Plomin.



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