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Twins: en route to QTLs for cognition

Twins: en route to QTLs for cognition

Science 276(5318): 1522-1523

In this issue, a landmark study by a U.S.-U.K.-Swedish team reports that the genetic contribution to cognitive ability is remarkably constant throughout life. In a study of the cognitive abilities of a broad sample of Swedish octogenarian twins using the classical method, G. E. McClearn and colleagues found that the heritability of general cognitive ability is 62 percent, a value strikingly consistent with the value of this parameter in adolescence and beyond. These data fill a gap in theories about the epigenesis of intellect over the course of life. It had formerly been supposed that the contribution of one's genetic makeup to intellectual functioning declined over time; it now appears that it actually remains rather stable. The new data supplement existing evidence for the strength of genetic influences on cognition.

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Accession: 010022199

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PMID: 9190689

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