A lot of fathers might not be pleased to know this, but research has deduced that children get their brains from the X genes that come from their mother.
It has been mostly believed and generally accepted that the child’s intelligence comes from both parents and that both of them have equal influence. However, according to genetic research, it turns out that the impact of women on their child’s cognitive abilities is much higher than compared to men’s.
Women have two X chromosomes, while men have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. Intelligence, however, is tied to the X chromosome. So, the chances of inheriting X-related genetic material from the mother is higher.
There’s a category of genes known as conditioned genes which are gender specific. By default, the genetic properties of these genes are either activated or deactivated depending upon the specific designation, and subsequently, the genetic properties being influenced. Scientists believe that intelligence is a highly-conditioned gene, and it comes directly from the mother.
Furthermore, these genes related to intelligence may only work when the child inherits from a female. So, even if she inherits the intelligence genes from the father, they won’t help to shape the IQ of the child. Thus, scientists believe genes for advanced cognitive functions inherited from the father may be automatically deactivated.
To test the hypothesis, scientists used genetically-modified mice in a laboratory. They found that an extra dose of paternal genes developed larger bodies but small cranium and brains, whereas an extra dose of maternal genes produced larger heads and brains, but with much smaller bodies.
In addition to cranium and brain size, some other interesting facts were also observed. They could not find any trace of paternal genetic material within the cerebral cortex i.e., the area of the brain which is responsible for executive functionalities, like language, organization, logical reasoning, personality, and critical thinking.
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Another study was conducted by a governmental agency in Scotland, where 12,686 people aged 14 to 22 years had participated. Researchers interviewed the participants while observing the intellectual development and taking into consideration various other factors, from education to ethnicity. Over a period, they concluded that along with factors like race and socioeconomic status, mother’s IQ is the best predictor of intelligence.
But, these studies do not state that the father’s genes do not play any crucial role in a child’s intelligence or their development. While the mother’s genes dominate the cerebral cortex, the father’s genes have significance on the limbic system - which controls a range of functions, including the autonomic nervous system, the emotional quotient of the child, hunger, learning ability, memory, and sexual response. And as the brain functions as a whole, while cerebral cortex impacts the cognitive skills, the limbic system supports it with the way a person thinks, feels, and responses.
Most importantly, only 40-60 percent of intelligence is genetic; the rest depends on the external environment and rearing of the child.