Smart people should thank their mothers because, according to researchers, their mothers are mainly responsible for transmitting intelligence genes. Thus gender stereotypes that have survived for centuries are perhaps about to disappear. Single women who want an intelligent child don’t need to look for a Nobel Prize at the nearest sperm bank and it is likely that men will begin to see the intelligence of women as an important part of their attraction.
We know that intelligence has an hereditary component, but until a few years ago we thought that much of it depended on the father as well as on the mother. However, several studies revealed that children are more likely to inherit intelligence from the mother, because intelligence genes are located on chromosome X.
During the first experiment, researchers created embryos of rats that only had genes of the mother or of the father. But when it came time to transfer them to the uterus of an adult rat, the embryos died. So it was discovered that there are conditioned genes which are activated only when inherited from the mother and that are vital to the proper development of the embryo. On the other hand, the genetic heritage of the father is essential for the growth of the tissue that will form the placenta.
At that time, the researchers hypothesized that if these genes were important for the development of the embryo, it was also likely that they could play a major role in lives of animals and people, maybe they could even result in some brain functions. The problem was how to prove this idea, because embryos with genes from only one parent died quickly.
Those with an extra dose of maternal genes developed a bigger head and brain, but had little bodies. Conversely, those with an extra dose of paternal genes had small brains and larger bodies.
More deeply analyzing these differences, the researchers identified cells that contained only maternal or paternal genes in six different parts of the brain that control different cognitive functions, from eating habits to memory.
In practice, during the first days of embryonic development, any cell can appear anywhere in the brain, but as the embryos mature and grow, cells that had paternal genes accumulate in some of the emotional centers of the brain: the hypothalamus, amygdala, the preoptic area and the septum. These areas are part of the limbic system, which is responsible for ensuring our survival and is involved in functions such as sex, food and aggression. However, researchers have not found any paternal cells in the cerebral cortex, which is where are developed the most advanced cognitive functions, such as intelligence, thought, language and planning.
Besides genetics, we can also find other studies that reveal the mother plays an important role in the intellectual development of children, through physical and emotional contact. In fact, some studies suggest that a secure bond is intimately tied to intelligence
This because a strong bond gives children the security necessary to explore the world and the confidence to solve problems without losing heart. In addition, these mothers also tend give their children a higher level of support in solving problems, thus helping to further stimulate their potential.
Of course, this not to say that the relationship with the father should not be as fully developed, just that because of our social structure, including some of the gender stereotypes that still remain, it is usually the mother that spends the most time with her small children.
Can we really talk about hereditary intelligence?
Moreover, we must not forget that even if a child has a high IQ, we must stimulate that intelligence and nourish it throughout life with new challenges. Otherwise that intelligence will stagnate.
Despite what may be influenced by genetics, fathers should not be discouraged because they also have much to contribute to the development of their children, especially by being emotionally present. The IQ with which we are with born is important, but not decisive.