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Scientists find gene linking brain's grey matter to intelligence

Published on Feb 11, 2014 5:44 PM
 

LONDON (REUTERS) - Researchers have found a gene linking intelligence to the thickness of so-called "grey matter" in the brain, and say their discovery could help scientists understand how and why some people have learning difficulties.

An international team of scientists analysed DNA samples and brain scans from more than 1,500 healthy 14-year-olds and gave them a series of tests to establish their verbal and non-verbal intelligence.

The researchers looked at the cerebral cortex - the outermost layer of the brain that is also known as "grey matter" and plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language and consciousness.

They then analysed more than 54,000 genetic variants possibly involved in brain development and found that, on average, teenagers with a particular gene variant had a thinner cortex in the left half of their brains - and were the ones who performed less well on tests for intellectual ability.

 
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