Dear WIN members,

I have received the following study proposal from Dr Schwartz. Anyone interested in participating in that project could contact directly Dr Schwartz or Cindy Skinner.

Evangelos Katsioulis

Study of Individuals with High Intellectual Ability

Purpose: Researchers have been attempting to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for intelligence and cognitive impairment.  Although progress has been slow, some gene defects have been identified in individuals with cognitive impairment.  However, it has been difficult to identify QTLs which can be replicated in subsequent studies.  Some of the difficulty may reside in the populations utilized for the studies.  Almost none has endeavored to study a cohort of individuals with high intellectual ability (HIA), those whose IQ is above 2 SD the mean (>130).  Just as studies of individuals with cognitive impairment have led to an understanding of brain development and function, studies of individuals with high intellectual ability should be able to provide valuable insight into these areas.

Outline of Study: The proposed study of individuals with HIA will be conducted by researchers at the Greenwood Genetic Center.  The study will apply current molecular and genetic technologies to ascertain variations in a person’s genome.  These variations will consist of either single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or copy number variants (CNVs; deletion or duplication of genetic material).  Across the cohort of HIA individuals, an attempt will be made to identify SNP or CNV associations of significance.

Material Needed: Individuals interested in participating in the study would need to provide the following:

  1. Signed consent for participating in the study.
  2. Responses to a questionnaire which would provide us with some necessary demographic (age, sex, race, IQ, etc.) and clinical (medicines, behavioral characteristics, handedness, etc.) information.
  3. DNA and RNA obtained using Oragene saliva kits provided by us.

Privacy: For the purpose of the cohort analysis, samples will be anonymized.  However, if an individual desires to have individual information provided to them, this can be arranged.

Other notes: Besides individuals, we are interested in enrolling families which have multiple HIA individuals.  Such families would provide an invaluable resource for genetic studies of intellectual function which cannot be undertaken in a study of a large number of unrelated HIA individuals.

This is a research project.  Therefore, results will not be immediately available and final analysis of ­all­ the findings will likely take more than 2 years.  Additionally, some of the analysis will be undertaken by scientists in collaboration with researchers at the Greenwood Genetic Center.  It is hoped that funding for the study will be provided by NIH (National Institute of Health, US) and/or other private/public sources.

Contact: Individuals with IQ ≥130 or families with multiple members having an IQ ≥ 130 who are interested in participating in our study should contact:

Dr. Charles Schwartz, Principal Investigator

Greenwood Genetic Center

113 Gregor Mendel Circle

Greenwood, SC 29646

864-941-8140

ceschwartz@ggc.org

or

Cindy Skinner, RN, Sample Coordinator

Greenwood Genetic Center

113 Gregor Mendel Circle

Greenwood, SC 29646

864-941-8115

cindy@ggc.org