Does Your Man Have The “Stupid Gene?”
By: Beth McHugh 2006
Ever secretly suspected that women are smarter than men? Ever wondered why there are whole pages in women’s magazines devoted to the silly things that men do? One man has now lifted the lid on Secret Men’s Business: the fact that some men actually possess The Stupid Gene. Read on….
Scientists have long been studying the elements of intelligence, and now with the advent of gene mapping and DNA studies, we are rapidly adding to our knowledge base about all aspects of the human body and how it works. But the brain is the final frontier and now scientists are utilizing gene studies in an attempt to unravel the mystery of why some people are more intelligent than others.
However, one surprising conclusion has been noted: there is a group of male humans whose IQ is significantly lower than other males and all females. A researcher at Duke University has identified a single mutation in a gene called IGF2R as being responsible for significantly lowering the IQ of certain males. Molecular biologist Randy Jirtle states that everybody carries the gene, but some have a version that differs slightly from the norm. And it is this variation which is linked to a lower IQ. And although females may carry the gene variation, it does not have an effect on their overall IQ.
These conclusions were reached as part of a study on 300 children with an average age of ten. All were Caucasian in background to rule out any racial differences between subjects. The males who were found to carry the deviant gene were discovered on average to have an IQ of around 20 points lower than the males who did not possess the variant gene.
Dr. Jirtle did stress that having the IGF2R variant did not automatically doom its owner to a life of low intelligence. Although the identified group of males did display lower than average IQs, there still remained a couple of males with the variant gene who possessed average to high IQs. Of course, it is also possible for males who do not posses the gene to have low IQs. Clearly, intelligence is dependent on a number of factors. But this particular study, which originally began by looking at this variant gene in mice, has been expanded to include humans and similar results have been noted.
Naturally, this new research opens up further ethical and moral dilemmas for parents and governments alike. The gene is identifiable and it is to be expected that parents would be interested in having genetic testing at such time when the test becomes widely available.
However, in support of the findings Dr. Jirtle refers to natural selection
to support his idea that there must be some advantage in possessing
this gene otherwise it would have been selected out by natural processes.
As Dr. Jirtle himself quotes: “There must be an advantage. It
was selected for something, but I can’t believe it was to make
males dumber.” The researcher believes that the variant gene may
give other, as yet unknown, advantages to afflicted males, such as resistance
to certain diseases or other health benefits. This is where further
research becomes invaluable in unlocking the mystery of the human mind.