How a Gene Mutation Causes Higher Intelligence – Innovita Research

Recently, neurobiologists from Leipzig and Würzburg universities investigated that a gene mutation that causes blindness is also associated with increased verbal IQ and working memory. Thus far, it was unclear how the mutation affects synaptic function.

Intelligence - artistic concept.

Intelligence – artistic concept. Image credit: geralt via Pixabay, free license

Scientists used CRISPR/Cas9-assisted genomic engineering to insert patients’ mutations into the corresponding gene in a fruit fly and took electrophysiological measurements of synaptic activity.

Flies with the mutation showed a much-increased transmission of the information at the synapses, which explains both increased cognitive performance and also their blindness. Researchers also used super-resolution microscopy to find out how increased transmission occurs at a molecular level.

It is difficult to confirm the same results in human studies, but scientists note that the investigated gene and its related protein in fruit flies is very similar (or, possibly, even identical) to its version in humans.

Source: University of Leipzig

Research article: “The human cognition-enhancing CORD7 mutation increases active zone number and synaptic release