11 Oct Who do children inherit their intelligence from: Mom or Dad?
Who influences smarts more: Mom or Dad?
Women are more likely to transmit intelligence genes to their children. They are carried on the X chromosome and women have two of these, while men only have one.
But in addition to this, scientists now believe genes for advanced cognitive functions which are inherited from the father may be automatically deactivated.
A category of genes known as “conditioned genes” are thought to work only if they come from the mother in some cases. And the father in other cases. Intelligence is believed to be among the conditioned genes that have to come from the mother.
Laboratory studies using genetically modified mice found that those with an extra dose of maternal genes developed bigger heads. They had bigger brains but little bodies. Those with an extra dose of paternal genes had small brains and larger bodies.
Researchers identified cells that contained only maternal or paternal genes in six different parts of the mouse brains. These genes controlled different cognitive functions, from eating habits to memory.
Cells with paternal genes accumulated in parts of the limbic system. The limbic system controls functions such as sex, food and aggression. But researchers did not find any paternal cells in the cerebral cortex. This is where the most advanced cognitive functions take place, such as reasoning, thought, language and planning.
But is this just the case for mice?
Concerned that people might not be like mice, researchers in Glasgow took a more human approach to exploring intelligence. They found the theories extrapolated from mice studies bear out in reality. The researchers interviewed 12,686 young people between the ages of 14 and 22 every year from 1994. They took into account several factors, from the participants education to their race and socio-economic status. However, the team still found the best predictor of intelligence was the IQ of the mother.
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