A mother’s genetics determines how clever her children are, according to researchers, and the father makes no difference.
Women are more likely to transmit intelligence genes to their children because they are carried on the X chromosome and women have two of these, while men only have one.
–Eve biting the apple?
Laboratory studies using genetically modified mice found that those with an extra dose of maternal genes developed bigger heads and brains, but had little bodies. Those with an extra dose of paternal genes had small brains and larger bodies.
Cells with paternal genes accumulated in parts of the limbic system, which is involved in functions such as sex, food and aggression. But researchers did not find any paternal cells in the cerebral cortex, which is where the most advanced cognitive functions take place, such as reasoning, thought, language and planning.
Concerned that people might not be like mice, researchers in Glasgow took a more human approach to exploring intelligence. They found the theories extrapolated from mice studies bear out in reality when they interviewed 12,686 young people between the ages of 14 and 22 every year from 1994. Despite taking into account several factors, from the participants education to their race and socio-economic status, the team still found the best predictor of intelligence was the IQ of the mother.
But mothers have also been found to play an extremely significant role in this non-genetic part of intelligence, with some studies suggesting a secure bond between mother and child is intimately tied to intelligence.
Researchers at the University of Washington found that a secure emotional bond between a mother and child is crucial for the growth of some parts of the brain. After analyzing the way a group of mothers related to their children for seven years, the researchers found children who were supported emotionally and had their intellectual needs fulfilled had a 10 per cent larger hippocampus at 13 on average than children whose mothers were emotionally distant. The hippocampus is an area of the brain associated with memory, learning and stress response.
But while some dads may brush this off, it’s actually extremely unlikely that their intellect has any impact on their kiddos.
“If that same gene is inherited from the father, it is deactivated,” the study reported.
But not all hope is lost for fathers, “Obviously, other genes work the opposite, are activated only if they come from the father.”
Smart people should thank their mothers because, according to researchers, their mothers are mainly responsible for transmitting intelligence genes. Thus, gender stereotypes that have survived for centuries are perhaps about to disappear. Single women who want an intelligent child don’t need to look for a Nobel Prize at the nearest sperm bank and it is likely that men will begin to see the intelligence of women as an important part of their attraction.
Mother’s genes go directly to the cerebral cortex, those of the father to the limbic system
We know that intelligence has an hereditary component, but until a few years ago we thought that much of it depended on the father as well as on the mother. However, several studies revealed that children are more likely to inherit intelligence from the mother, because intelligence genes are located on chromosome X.
One of the first studies in this area was conducted in 1984 at the University of Cambridge, followed by many others over the years. In these studies the co-evolution of the brain and the conditioning of the genome was analyzed, leading to the conclusion that maternal genes contribute most to the development of the thought centers in the brain.