The more genetically diverse your parents are, the more likely you are to think quickly, a new study finds.
People whose parents are genetically dissimilar are also more likely to be taller.
The data comes from 350,000 people in over 100 different studies.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh looked at similarities in the genetic code of people’s parents.
When parents share the same genetic code, this is a clue that they are (distantly) related.
Greater genetic differences, though, indicate that people’s parents are more likely to be unrelated.
Over time genetic diversity seems to be favouring people who are taller and think faster.
Dr Peter Joshi, of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute, said:
“Our research answers questions first posed by Darwin as to the benefits of genetic diversity.
Our next step will be to hone in on the specific parts of the genome that most benefit from diversity.”
Dr Jim Wilson, at the same intitution, said:
“This study highlights the power of large-scale genetic analyses to uncover fundamental information about our evolutionary history.”
The study is published in the journal Nature (Joshi et al., 2015).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Brain growth image from Shutterstock