Cell Press Summary: Human intelligence and behavior require optimal functioning of a large number of genes, which requires enormous evolutionary pressures to maintain.
A provocative theory suggests that we are losing our intellectual and emotional capabilities because the intricate web of genes endowing us with our brain power is particularly susceptible to mutations and that these mutations are not being selected against in our modern society.
A provocative hypothesis published in a recent set of Science and Society pieces published in the Cell Press journal Trends in Genetics suggests that we are losing our intellectual and emotional capabilities because the intricate web of genes endowing us with our brain power is particularly susceptible to mutations and that these mutations are not being selected against in our modern society.
Gerald Crabtree, of Stanford University. In this environment, intelligence was critical for survival, and there was likely to be immense selective pressure acting on the genes required for intellectual development, leading to a peak in human intelligence.
From that point, it's trends in diabetes and metabolism impact factor that we began to slowly lose ground. With the development of agriculture, came urbanization, which may have weakened the power of selection to weed out mutations leading to intellectual disabilities.
Based on calculations of the frequency with which deleterious mutations appear in the human genome and the assumption that to genes are required for intellectual ability, Dr. Crabtree estimates that within years about generations we have all sustained two or more mutations harmful to our intellectual or emotional stability.
Moreover, recent findings from neuroscience suggest that genes involved in brain function are uniquely susceptible to mutations. Crabtree argues that the combination of less selective pressure and the large number of easily affected genes is eroding our intellectual and emotional capabilities.
But not to worry. The loss is quite slow, and judging by society's rapid pace of discovery and advancement, future technologies are bound to reveal solutions to the problem. Thus, the brutish process of natural selection will be unnecessary.
Note: Content may be edited for style and length. Journal References: Gerald R. Our fragile intellect. Part I. Trends in Genetics, ; DOI: Part II.