A Flaw in One Gene May Smooth Your Brain and Make You Less Intelligent

Illustration for article titled A Flaw in One Gene May Smooth Your Brain and Make You Less Intelligent

A single gene may alter the shape of your brain and determine your intelligence according to new research from the Yale School of Medicine.

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Genetic analysis of the brain of a Turkish patient revealed a startling discovery - the patient's brain lacked the folds in the cerebral cortex that characterize most human brains (shown above in the left panel). Human and other large mammals have folds in their brain (above right) that increase the surface area of the cortex which, in turn increases your intelligence. This particular human specimen was smooth and resembled the brain of a smaller, less intelligent mammal. Looking closely at the genetics of this one patient, the scientists were able to identify two changes in a single gene (LAMC3) responsible for this smooth defect.

Brain research is still in its early stages and the process behind this folding is still a mystery. With this discovery, we now know there is at least one gene that makes us smarter than the average household mouse. [Foxnews]

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DISCUSSION

Why does the head on the left look so different than the one on the right? Where's its mouth, or nose, or chin?