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Clever people likely to live longer due to so-called ‘intelligence genes’ that promote old age

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Clever people live longer due to so-called ‘intelligence genes’ that promote old age, new research suggests.

More than 500 genes linked to people having greater Intelligent Quotients (IQs) have been identified by scientists, which is 10 times higher than previously thought.

It raises the possibility of testing for intelligence using simple saliva Deoxy ribonucleic Acid (DNA)/ genetic material tests.

Past research suggests intelligence genes boost the transmission of signals between different regions of the brain, as well as protecting against dementia and premature death.

Study author Dr. David Hill from Edinburgh University said: “Intelligence is a heritable trait with estimates indicating between 50 and 80 per cent of differences in intelligence can be explained by genetic factors.

“People with a higher level of cognitive function have been observed to have better physical and mental health, and to have longer lives.”

Results further suggest 538 genes play a role in intelligence, while 187 regions of the human genome are associated with thinking skills.

The findings were published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Hill said: “Our study identified a large number of genes linked to intelligence.
First, we found 187 independent associations for intelligence and highlighted the role of 538 genes being involved – a substantial advance.

“We used our data to predict almost seven per cent of the variation in intelligence in one of three independent samples. Previous estimates of prediction have been around five per cent at most.”

Earlier this year a study of more than 78,000 people suggested just 52 genes are linked to intelligence.

People who express such genes in childhood are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, depression, schizophrenia and obesity in later life, the trial implied.

The researchers analysed DNA variations in more than 240,000 people from around the world.

Gene samples were taken from the UK Biobank, which assesses the role of genes in health and disease.

The researchers then compared people’s DNA against their IQ scores on verbal and numerical tests.


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Clever peopleDavid Hill
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