Genetic “General Intelligence,” Objectively Determined and Measured

Published on Sep 12, 2019in bioRxiv
· DOI :10.1101/766600
Javier de la Fuente (University of Texas at Austin), Gail Davies52
Estimated H-index: 52
(Edin.: University of Edinburgh)
+ 2 AuthorsIan J. Deary128
Estimated H-index: 128
(Edin.: University of Edinburgh)
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It has been known for 115 years that, in humans, diverse cognitive traits are positively intercorrelated; this forms the basis for the general factor of intelligence (g). We directly test for a genetic basis for g using data from seven different cognitive tests (N = 11,263 to N = 331,679) and genome-wide autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms. A genetic g factor accounts for 58.4% (SE = 4.8%) of the genetic variance in the cognitive traits, with trait-specific genetic factors accounting for the remaining 41.6%. We distill genetic loci broadly relevant for many cognitive traits (g) from loci associated with only individual cognitive traits. These results elucidate the etiological basis for a long-known yet poorly-understood phenomenon, revealing a fundamental dimension of genetic sharing across diverse cognitive traits.
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