Friday, January 20, 2017
We’re evolving stupid: Icelandic study finds gradual decline in genes linked to education, IQ
This has long been predicted. Robert Zajonc highlighted the problem way back. That the dummies have most of the children would seem to make a decline in average IQ inevitable in a world where welfare policies make sure that the feckless no longer starve.
EVOLUTION is continuing to shape our future, research from Iceland has found. But not in the way we want. We’re losing our ability to learn.
A study from the genetics firm deCODE in Reykjavik has uncovered an emerging change in our brains.
Put simply, those born in 1910 were more likely to stick with education for longer than those in 1975.
And it’s not just a matter of changing attitudes. The gradual demise of a cluster of genes is being blamed for the slow but steady drop in IQ.
At the researchers fingertips was a genetic database of more than 100,000 Icelandic citizens. They matched this against a set of 74 genes identified early last year as being involved in brain development during pregnancy.
Put together, their presence — or absence — could be used as an indicator for how long an individual was likely to spend going through the school and university systems. This is what the Icelandic researchers sought to test.
Their study, published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last month, uncovered the decline.
“As a species, we are defined by the power of our brains,” deCODE CEO Kari Stefansson said in a statement. “Education is the training and refining of our mental capacities. Thus, it is fascinating to find that genetic factors linked to more time spent in education are becoming rarer in the gene pool.”
It’s a revelation, if proven true, that has dire implications. But it is supported by circumstantial evidence. It’s long been noted people who seek higher education tend to have fewer children.
This, the researchers say, means Iceland’s smarter population have been contributing less to the nation’s gene pool. And it’s beginning to show.
“The rate of decrease is small per generation but marked on an evolutionary timescale,” the paper reads.
The researchers argue that time spent in the education system itself does not appear to be to blame for the fall in fertility.
It’s all in the genes. Those predisposed towards education appear also to have a predisposition towards having children later in life.
“In spite of the negative selection against these sequence variations, education levels have been increasing for decades,” Dr Stefansson notes. “Time will tell whether the decline of the genetic propensity for education will have a notable impact on human society.”
Posted by jonjayray at 8:14 PM