Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.

 

Humans losing emotional abilities

13 November 2012, 14:05

Human intelligence and behavior require optimal functioning of a large number of genes, which requires enormous evolutionary pressures to maintain.

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.

"The development of our intellectual abilities and the optimization of thousands of intelligence genes probably occurred in relatively non-verbal, dispersed groups of peoples before our ancestors emerged from Africa," says the papers' author, Dr 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.

Technology will reveal solutions

From that point, it's likely that we began to slowly lose ground.

With the development of agriculture, came urbanisation, 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 2000 to 5000 genes are required for intellectual ability, Dr Crabtree estimates that within 3000 years (about 120 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.

Dr 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.

 "I think we will know each of the millions of human mutations that can compromise our intellectual function and how each of these mutations interacts with each other and other processes as well as environmental influences," says Dr Crabtree.

"At that time, we may be able to magically correct any mutation that has occurred in all cells of any organism at any developmental stage. Thus, the brutish process of natural selection will be unnecessary.”

(Reuters Health, November 2012)

NEXT ON NEWS24 KENYAX

5 common diet mistakes

22 October 2014, 09:54

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilshere..
Nakuru County officers to sign pe...

Nakuru County Governor Kinuthia Mbugua has said all officers in his government will sign performance contracts to enable them serve residents effectively. Read more...

Submitted by
Nesta Marley
MP: Address Catholic fears over t...

An MP has raised concern over the controversy surrounding the national tetanus vaccine campaign saying the government must address the Roman Catholic church’s fear before they roll out the exercise. Read more...

Submitted by
DareelEric
12 men gang-rape woman in Vihiga

12 men have gang raped a woman in Vihiga in a growing number of incidences of that type. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
CORD protests over Muturi 'violat...

CORD MPs have protested the move by speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi to suspend summons to the house for cabinet secretaries. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Three dangerous sex positions

There are sex positions and there are dangerous sex positions. Time to be careful. Read more...

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Kagwe returns

Kagwe has returned. Read more...