A team of scientists from Russia and other countries found five sites in human DNA that affect the size of the skull, the potential intellectual development of the person and a predisposition to some diseases of the brain. The conclusions of the experts mistakenly interpreted as a proof that the volume of the skull depends on the person’s intelligence. However, the new study allows a better understanding of how some parts of the genome, and thus to learn more about the causes of various neurodegenerative diseases
In the study, experts have studied the structure of DNA more than 32 thousand inhabitants of Europe, Asia, Africa and America. This allowed us to calculate which small mutations can have an impact on the size of the human skull. As a result, scientists have identified seven DNA regions that determine the shape of the head, of which two were previously known, and the other five are still considered to be performing other functions. Located the areas were on 6, 10, 12 and 17 chromosomes. Also found out that genetic factors determine the shape of the skull is approximately 25 percent.
Genetics note that four of the previously identified DNA regions are wrongly considered “responsible” for the growth of the person. In the new study it was shown that these regions do not directly determine whether a person is high, and the size of his head affect regardless of the growth.
Some of the genes whose connection with the head size was identified by scientists, has also been found, in particular, are associated with mental abilities, with a predisposition to Parkinson’s disease and other diseases of the brain. Experts hope that in the future these data will help to prevent the development of such diseases and to deal with them.
The study was conducted in the framework of two major projects devoted to the study of how genes affect the heart and brain — CHARGE and ENGIMA. The received results scientists have presented on the pages of scientific publication Nature Neuroscience.