Genetics may influence intelligence by contributing to the development of larger brains

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Genetic variants associated with intelligence are also weakly related to brain volume, according to a new study published in Cerebral Cortex.

“I was particularly interested in this project because it combines two rapidly growing areas of research into cognitive ability,” said study author Maxwell L. Elliott of Duke University.

“First, we are rapidly learning more about how brain structure and function lead to individual differences in cognitive ability. Second, with ever-growing genetics studies called genome-wide association studies (GWAS), we are quickly learning a great deal about how genetics lead to individual differences in cognitive ability.”

“This project combines these two areas of research by testing whether genetic variants that are associated with cognitive ability predict larger brains (a brain phenotype that has long been associated with higher cognitive ability),” Elliott explained.

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