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Behav Genet. 2009 Jul;39(4):393-405. doi: 10.1007/s10519-009-9268-x. Epub 2009 Apr 18.

The developmental etiology of high IQ.

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Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0447, USA.


The genetic and environmental trends in IQ development were assessed in 483 same-sex twin pairs in the Colorado longitudinal twin study using maximum-likelihood model-fitting analysis. The twins were assessed periodically from ages 1 to 16. Results show a decreasing influence of shared environment and an increasing influence of heritability across development, with large and increasing age to age stability of genetic influences. Non-shared environment contributes almost exclusively to age to age change. Similar analyses were conducted designating the top 15% of the sample as having high IQ at each age. The developmental etiology of high IQ did not significantly differ from that found for the continuous measure in this relatively novel analysis. These results demonstrate early stability in etiological influences on IQ and have potential implications for gene-finding efforts, suggesting that samples selected for high IQ can be used to find genetic variation that will be applicable to the full range of the IQ distribution, although conclusive demonstration that the same genes are indeed involved was beyond the scope of this study.

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