Washington: A team of researchers has found a gene responsible for brain size and development, which helps spell the difference between a genius and an idiot.
A genetic analysis led by an international collaboration of scientists from the Yale School of Medicine determined that that tiny variation -- just two genetic letters - out of the 3 billion in the human genetic alphabet - within a single gene determines the intelligence potential or lack thereof of a human brain.
In normal brain function, convolutions, the deep fissures of the brain, increase the overall surface area, one of the primary determinants for intelligence. Deeper folds in the brain allow for rational and abstract thought, scientists believe.
In the latest finding, a team of researchers analyzed a Turkish patient whose brain lacks those characteristic convolutions in part of his cerebral cortex, a sheet of brain tissue that plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language and consciousness, reports Fox News.
The cause of this drastic cerebral deformity was pinned down to a gene called laminin gamma3 (LAMC3) with similar variations discovered in other patients with the same medical condition.
"The demonstration of the fundamental role of this gene in human brain development affords us a step closer to solve the mystery of the crown jewel of creation, the cerebral cortex," said Murat Gunel, senior author of the paper, co-director of the Neurogenetics Program and professor of genetics and neurobiology at Yale.
The study was published recently in the journal of Nature Genetics.