Studies find 900 new genes for intelligence and 600 for neuroticism, rebalancing the nature/nurture equation.

The nature-versus-nurture debate doesn’t get much more febrile than in the domains of intelligence and mental illness.

When it comes to the smarts, education and healthy living rate high on the nurture side of the ledger, as does the “Flynn effect” – which suggests intelligence, like a muscle, can “bulk up” in the face of cognitive demands. In mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, the triggering roles of early life abuse, dysfunctional family and substance misuse are well described.

But genetics plays its part, a role better understood now thanks to two large studies published in the journal Nature Genetics. They identify a host of genes linked to intelligence and psychological disorders, the brain changes that might cause them, and further relationships with illnesses including Alzheimer’s disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Read the full article in Cosmos magazine here