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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Scientists figured out which gene helps to become a polyglot

Genetics, representing the University of Washington conducted a study in which managed to figure out how genes and structure of the brain affect the person’s predisposition to learning a foreign language. According to experts, to a large extent on these abilities is influenced by different versions of the COMT gene.

photo: pixabay.com

During their study, researchers suggested that 79 Chinese students to go through a course of learning English, with whom they first became acquainted as adults. Subsequently, the experts checked whether it is possible to trace the relationship between the work of the white matter of the brain of the students, the activity of the COMT gene and the results they showed during exams. This kind of communication to find really managed.

During the study, scientists periodically conducted a brain scan of the participants, whose age averaged about 20 years. As it turned out, the structure of white matter in the brain from the first day of training began to change, allowing more efficient to learn the language. These changes were evident almost immediately and were visible throughout the training, and only some time after its completion, the structure of the brain came back “normal”. The specialists noted that much of the specific changes depended on which variant of the COMT gene had volunteers.

Normally, conducting such studies, scientists note that genetic predisposition has a significant but not decisive influence on man. The specialists underline that the structure of the brain and the gene COMT are not the only factors and in this case, however, their role is very high: in 46% of cases, these aspects helped the students to learn a second language better than others.

Work on the outcomes of his research were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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