One of the biggest studies conducted so far on genetics has claimed that children of the genetically diverse parents are more likely to be intelligent and tall as adults.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh conducted the study in an era where people are increasingly marrying people from different parts of the globe. The researchers found that the two traits – intelligence and height – increased when mixing genetically diverse DNA that had fewer number of genes in partners that resembled each other.
A total of four traits -- height, cognitive ability, lung capacity and level of educational attainment – were found to be affected by the degree of genetic diversity in the different genomes. However, the study also found that mixing genes had no impact on other medical factors, including blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
During the study, researchers analyzed and compared 100 different studies conducted in the past. The studies included more than 350,000 people living across the globe in urban and rural areas. Researchers compared the genetic diversity of the genomes by considering 16 different biomedical traits. They also took into account factors that could influence the outcome of the study, including upbringing of the child and the socio-economic status.
“We’ve found that the genetics are associated quite robustly across populations, and although we tried to compensate for environmental factors, we think the genetic effects are real,” said the first author of the study, Peter Joshi, in a statement.
“There has been speculation ever since Charles Darwin that genetic diversity would be beneficial in terms of evolutionary fitness. We think genetic diversity decreases the chances of inheriting defecting copies of the same gene from both father and mother.”
The complete study has been published in the journal Nature.