Is there any explanation, gene(s) or whatever detected, that are co-related or explicitly related via mechanical bio-molecular (or at any other level) models that explain the higher or lower intelligence found in different individuals of Homo sapiens?
If so, which and how do they work?

  • $\begingroup$ Good question. IMHO, I don't think that there's a "intelligence gene". There's a meta-analysis about it here $\endgroup$
    – trinaldi
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ Just as a potential starting point for your search: this not a review, but it contains a general discussion on the issue of intelligence heredity and underlying mechanisms - Natural history of Ashkenazi intelligence $\endgroup$
    – alephreish
    Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


As a Drosophila biologist, I will attempt to address the above question by giving an examples from the Drosophila field. When this paper (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7720066) in Cell came out, it sent shockwaves around the world since it showed a molecular mechanism by which production of cAMP and activation PKA, effects CREB transcriptional activation and in turn formation of the long-term memory (LTM) in flies. Some of these CREB over expressing flies could learn a task after simply one try whereas wild-types had to do it several times! This work was later followed by mouse studies (http://www.pnas.org/content/100/18/10518.full.pdf) and comparisons to RTS patients were made. At that time there were discussions of CREB being responsible for intelligence however now there is nice nature review/meta-analysis paper (http://www.nature.com/srep/2014/140225/srep04176/pdf/srep04176.pdf), which says there are no evidence connecting CREB and IQ. This paper performs a literature based investigation and identifies several candidates that are testable and can act as biomarkers for intelligence related therapeutic approach to mental retardation. According to their screen dopamine and norepinephrine pathways seems to be important in IQ-related biological processes.

Hope this helps!

  • $\begingroup$ When doing studies on genome-wide associations, you WILL find an association between a "gene" and pretty much anything (gene A causes preference of vanilla ice cream over chocolate). So, yeah, there are many associations (and correlations), but there is no single "molecular" cause for intelligence; no matter how strong the 'statistical' association is, causality is hardly ever known for complex traits. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 15:08

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