Psychologists using a new genetic technique have found a gene associated with high intelligence. The technique, they say, should help to identify several more of the many genes thought to affect human intelligence and personality. If the work is confirmed by other researchers, it would be the first time that a gene contributing to intelligence had been found.
The new finding is a tender green shoot arising from the ashes of a long-smoldering debate about whether intelligence is determined by people's genes or by the circumstances of their upbringing. Many psychologists now believe there is clear evidence that heredity is important but not all powerful, and that genes account for about 50 percent or more of the variance in I.Q., or intelligence quotient. Variance is a statistical measure of how widely a quality varies in a population.
The gene was pinpointed by studying about 50 students whose SAT scores were equivalent to an I.Q. score of 160 or higher, and by comparing their DNA with children of average I.Q.