Is There A Link Between DNA And Intelligence?
What if your DNA could tell you whether or not you were predisposed to being intelligent? Thanks to the researchers who continue to explore the connection between genetics and intelligence, it might actually be possible.
It used to be that DNA testing was an expensive procedure only done in laboratories. Thanks to advances in science and technology, people worldwide have gained accessibility to at-home DNA kits that require no more than a saliva sample or a cheek swab.
The more testing progresses, the more we’re learning. Some people take a test to discover more about their ethnicity and heritage.
Others want more specific health information, like if they carry a genetic mutation that predisposes them for severe illness. So the question at hand still remains on many people’s minds. Can analyzing an individual’s genes predict their intelligence?
When contemplating whether genes affect intelligence or not, twin studies can be a fascinating and enlightening topic. Identical twins share nearly all of their genes, which tells us that any differences between identical genes would be environmental differences.
This means if identical twins are raised separate from one another, the differences would come from nurture and not nature.
Another group of people to look more closely at when considering genetics and intelligence are people with savant syndrome or those with an affliction like Fragile X. With these individuals, we often see a high capacity for intelligence that doesn’t stem from what they’ve been taught, but instead from their genetic makeup.
The topic of genes and the ability to predict intelligence can be a very uncomfortable one for many. After all, it’s a bit nerve-wracking that a test can tell you that you’re not that bright. Getting those results could be devastating. Though, having a test confirm you’re a genius is pretty neat.
Of course, when it comes to intelligence, it’s a person’s work ethic, perseverance, and commitment that completes the picture.
The Concept Of Precision Education
Many major DNA testing companies in the United States shy away from including intelligence reports on their DNA testing options. The results of these tests can have a major impact on an individual’s life if they take the tests as a final resort. The impact could also be huge.
Take, for example, a child who receives DNA test results that he’s of below-average intelligence. His parents might then make important decisions concerning his education such as what school to send him to and how much to spend on tutors.
This approach is called precision education. This is when one analyzes the test results and then applies a highly unique and specialized education based on that analysis.
Basing a child’s entire educational future on DNA test results is daunting for some, while others view it as an opportunity.
It’d seem that some major companies in the United States don’t want to carry this weight on their shoulders just yet.
However, other cultures such as the Chinese have different attitudes toward the precision education model and would likely be very enthusiastic about the option.
Despite precision education slowly becoming a topic of interest, it seems there’ll be no way to avoid it in the future.
Genetic Modification Of Babies: Yay Or Nay
If a DNA test can predict intelligence, then can it also predict a future child’s brainpower? Genetic modification of embryos is a controversial topic for many.
As genetics and technology grow more advanced, everything from gender to appearance, and perhaps even intelligence, can be controlled.
A study conducted by the MIT Technology Review found that half of the people surveyed were comfortable with genetic modification when it concerned serious diseases.
Compare that to the eighty-three percent who believe genetic modification for intelligence is crossing the line.
It’s not clear where the line should be drawn when it comes to genetic modification. What if a baby is predisposed to Fragile X syndrome, would genetic modification for intelligence become acceptable then? As research continues and as DNA testing rises in popularity, this controversial subject will undoubtedly continue to gain traction.