I first heard about the new study on genetics & IQ from Steve, but a more comprehensive discussion is found at a different Steve. The lead author is Ian Deary, who has a surprisingly long list of publications. I expected a study along these lines to come out based on an earlier study on height I heard about from Jason Malloy. Look at a lot of genes for a lot of people and find out how genetic distance correlates with the trait in question. It doesn’t tell you which genes are the relevant ones, but that’s asking for a lot considering how many prior failures there have been. The view of the authors and most reporting on it is that it shows there are many, many, many genes each having a small effect on intelligence (as opposed to a smaller number of rare genes of larger effect, which would be similarly difficult to find). This is what you’d expect for a normally (or close to it) distributed trait like height. When I first mention it to Kevin Mitchell at GNXP classic he dissented, saying they failed to establish the polygenic nature of the trait. He has yet to make a post of his own, but he elaborated on why he disagrees with the authors in a comment at GNXP Discover.

On a completely unrelated note, Bill Woolsey is no longer mayor, as the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned (for the third time) the incorporation of the town of James Island. Fourth time’s a charm.

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