University of Oregon physicist Steve Hsu has just launched an initiative with BGI to study the genetic basis of intelligence. See here for a summary of the project. They are presently recruiting participants to be genotyped so check out the website if you are interested. I have agreed to serve as a consultant on the project. The reason for my involvement is because my recent research has involved estimating the heritability of various obesity and Type 2 diabetic traits from genomic data and these methods could be useful for the project. I am also interested in the genetic and molecular basis of complex cognitive disorders like autism, schizophrenia and addiction. I will make some expository posts on these topics in the near future.
I enter this project with full awareness that the topic of heritability and intelligence is a lightning rod for controversy. I have even argued in the past that this is a topic that might be best left alone because any knowledge gained could be easily misused. However, it is also clear that this project will happen with or without me and I decided that the potential benefits outweighed the costs. When it comes to treating cognitive disorders like autism, schizophrenia and addiction, we still are in the dark ages and a large genome study of cognition could lead to potential new treatments. BGI also has the will and wherewithal to devote large amounts of resources to this project.