Genetic basis of intelligence

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.


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