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Important genes for low IQ identified, study suggests

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A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Utah may have identified the genes responsible for low IQ in patients with Williams Syndrome. These patients exhibit high levels of verbal and social interaction but have unusually low IQs and difficulty with basic mathematics. Their IQ levels average in around 60. The culprit, the scientists say, is the STX1A gene, a gene responsible for electrochemical processes occurring in the synapses of the brain. While some degree of difficulty has been found in identifying thte genes responsible for mediating intelligence, researchers say that this discovery may account for 15.6 percent of cognitive variation in the group of 65 Williams Syndrome patients.

A neurodevelopmental disorder, Williams Syndrome results from the deletion of around 12 genes from chromosome 7. They possess one less copy of each of these genes than those without Williams Syndrome. The study suggests that there is a way in which the neurons of those with Williams Syndrome communicate between one another through electrical signals. The study is a potentially illuminating one in the search for the elusive genes responsible for unusually high intelligence. While these genes seem to be responsible for unusually low IQ, the study may help illuminate more broadly help the brain functions in general, which may in turn shed light on how it functions particularly well in individuals with particular high IQs.

University of Utah Health Sciences. (2010, April 26). Intelligence gene? Study reveals specific gene's role in Williams Syndrome patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100422164633.htm

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