Our Genetically Fragile Intellect
Genetic studies in humans have indicated that the number of genes required for normal intellectual function might be surprising large. As many as 2,000 to 5,000 genes might be necessary for common intellectual function and lead to intellectual or emotional difficulties when mutated. These gene are commonly called intellectual deficiency or ID genes. Coupled with recent genomic evidence that neurons are particularly susceptible to heterozygosity, this observation suggests that extraordinary selective pressures were required to optimize and maintain human intellectual and emotional characteristics. Anthropologic studies indicate that human intellectual abilities were achieved during our prehistoric hunter gatherer African past. I will suggest a way to genetically triangulate our prehistory and to monitor the rate of change of the ID genes as our ancestors went from hunter gatherers to farming to modern high density city life.