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An international team of scientists analyzed DNA samples and brain scans from more than 1,500 healthy 14-year-olds and gave them a series of tests to establish their verbal and non-verbal intelligence.The genetic variation that Desrivieres' team found affects a gene known as NPTN, which encodes a protein acting on neuronal synapses and affects brain cell communication.To confirm the finding, the team studied the NPTN gene more closely in mouse and human brain cells in the lab and found it had a different activity in the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This, they said, suggests the left hemisphere may be more sensitive to the effects of NPTN mutations and that some differences in intellectual ability are due to decreased NPTN function in particular regions of the left brain hemisphere.
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