Every parent loves to discuss the traits that their little one may have inherited from them. In fact, it even becomes a sort of competition at times (of course, a healthy one!). We are sure that your partner would have told you how your angel’s “good looks” are his courtesy. Or at times, it is the intelligence! You may also pipe in saying how that is definitely not the case; of course, it is all you. Guess what? Now, we have scientists who vouch for the role you play in how intelligent your kid is.
A recent research has shown that it is the mother’s genes that determine how intelligent the child would be (2). As per the researchers, the father may have no role to play in this. The reasoning for the same involves our X chromosome. According to the scientists, the “clever” genes come from this very chromosome. And, since moms have two of these X chromosomes as compared to the one in dads, the former is more likely to pass on the “clever” genes. Scientists further mentioned how there is also a possibility that the genes responsible for advanced cognitive abilities transmitted from the dad get deactivated on their own.
Have you heard of “conditioned” genes? Apparently, it is the class of genes that work in case it comes from the mom in some situations or dad in the others. And, now the scientists believe that smartness is one such gene that can only come from the moms.
There were laboratory studies and experiments conducted before the researchers reached this conclusion . Genetically modified mice were taken for these experiments. The ones with more number of maternal genes were observed to have comparatively larger brains and heads than the bodies. Whereas the one with more paternal genes dosage were observed to have relatively larger bodies than the heads.
While observing a mouse, the scientists noticed cells that contained either the paternal or the maternal genes present in six separate parts of the brain. These were responsible for various cognitive abilities, from memory to eating routine. The cells holding the paternal genes were mostly present in the mouse’s limbic system, the part of the brain responsible for eating, arousal, and emotions. However, the researchers didn’t observe any paternal cells present in the brain’s cerebral cortex. This is the part of the brain responsible for the advanced cognitive abilities such as thought, reasoning, planning, and language.
But, scientists from Glasgow were concerned that humans can’t be entirely like mice. So, they decided to use a more human approach with respect to the exploration of cleverness. The researchers there interviewed nearly 13,000 people lying in the age group between 14 and 22 since the year 1994. What they observed was that the research done on mice can be extrapolated to humans as well. Keeping various aspects in mind, from the socio-economic status to race, the scientists observed that the best way to predict a kid’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ) would still be the mom. But, the research also made something else pretty clear – genetics is not the only way to determine a person’s intelligence level; inheritance only contributes nearly 40 to 60 percent to it.
Moms have also been found to play a major role in the non-genetic intelligence that her kid acquires. Some research suggests that it might be because of a close bond shared between a mother and her child. A study conducted in the University of Washington revealed that a secure and strong emotional mother-child bond is essential for the development of certain parts of the brain.
The emotional bond playing a crucial role comes as no surprise at all. We are all aware of how the mother’s support instills confidence in the child, giving him/her the courage to explore the world fearlessly. Also, an attentive and caring mom helps her kid figure out life problems, teaching him/her the problem-solving approach. This may prove to be an extremely important step in helping the little one unleash his/her full potential.
Do you have a wide “I knew it” grin on your face? Now, you know what to say the next time your partner takes the full credit for your child’s intelligence. Cheers!