How A Mother's Genes Can Affect Her Child's Intelligence

Photo: VOISIN/PHANIE/REX/Shutterstock
Children inherit intelligence from their mother, rather than their father, according to research published earlier this year.

This is partly because intelligence genes are carried on the X chromosome, which women have two of compared to men's one. Yet on top of this, scientists have gathered evidence suggesting that certain genes passed on to children - including those relating to brain power - will only have an effect if they came from the mother.

As Psychology Spot reports, scientists found that mice genetically modified to have more maternal genes grew larger heads and larger brains - but smaller bodies - than mice genetically modified to have more paternal genes.

Aware that mice may differ from humans in this respect, scientists then interviewed over 12,000 young people aged between 14 and 22 from Glasgow, over a period of more than 20 years, and found the most significant trait shared by intelligent children is a clever mother.

However, this doesn't mean clever mothers will necessarily bring up more intelligent children. Various studies published in recent years suggest that between 40% and 60% of a child's intelligence is inherited genetically, with the rest dependent on other "nurture"-based factors such as the environment in which he or she is raised.
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