Adafruit Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2018: Attention! Place all UPS 3 Day orders by 11am ET Thursday 12/13/2018
0

Scientists discover gene that can boost a person’s IQ

NewImage

A group of scientists have discovered a version of the gene KL, called KL-VS, that promotes longevity and boosts cognitive faculties. via The Economist:

PEOPLE are living longer, which is good. But old age often brings a decline in mental faculties and many researchers are looking for ways to slow or halt such decline. One group doing so is led by Dena Dubal of the University of California, San Francisco, and Lennart Mucke of the Gladstone Institutes, also in San Francisco. Dr Dubal and Dr Mucke have been studying the role in ageing of klotho, a protein encoded by a gene called KL. A particular version of this gene, KL-VS, promotes longevity. One way it does so is by reducing age-related heart disease. Dr Dubal and Dr Mucke wondered if it might have similar powers over age-related cognitive decline.

What they found was startling. KL-VS did not curb decline, but it did boost cognitive faculties regardless of a person’s age by the equivalent of about six IQ points. If this result, just published in Cell Reports, is confirmed, KL-VS will be the most important genetic agent of non-pathological variation in intelligence yet discovered.

Dr Dubal and Dr Mucke made their discovery when they looked at 220 volunteers aged 52 to 85, to study the effects of KL-VS on ageing. They assessed their volunteers’ faculties of memory, attention, visuo-spatial awareness and language. From these, they constructed a composite measure of cognition.

That measure suggested people with a VS version of the KL gene in their chromosomes had better cognition than those without one. When they analysed data collected by two other groups who work independently on KL-VS they discovered these researchers had found the same thing. That comparison brought the number of people examined to 718, a fifth of whom were possessors of KL-VS.

The six-point IQ gap is an extrapolation, since the cognitive tests did not measure general intelligence directly. But if it is correct, variation in the KL gene could account for as much as 3% of the variation of IQ in the general population (or, rather, in the population from which the researchers’ samples were drawn, namely white Americans). In comparison, the previous record-holders, HMGA2 and NPTN, each account for only half a percent of that variation.

This sort of result, it must be cautioned, has a tendency to come and go. The genome has so many genes in it that flukey correlations between one of them and some human trait are common. But there are two reasons to believe this is not a fluke. One is that these three independent studies have found it. The second is that Dr Dubal and Dr Mucke did not rest on their laurels, but did some experiments on mice to investigate KL-VS’s actions.

Read more.


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 9,200+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – Python on Microcontrollers is here!

Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/


Maker Business — Japanese word working and more in December’s issue of HackSpace magazine!

Wearables — Solder-less magic

Electronics — = != ==.

Biohacking — Finding Bliss with Anandamide

Python for Microcontrollers — sysfs is dead! long live libgpiod! libgpiod for linux & Python running hardware @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF #Python @Adafruit #Adafruit

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



1 Comment

  1. Who can tell 6 points of IQ? Seriously if you add in margin of error, that’s not something you really notice above and beyond other biases.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.