Scientists identify gene linked to greater brain size in early migrants

Despite the clear advantages of non-European, but less constant, population movements, modern, non-Oriented and remote cultures regularly produce their own, relatively less stable cultures.

“It was a paradox that we were able to show that some early, non-Oriented, migration may lead to slightly smaller brains than Europeans but a comparable overall brain size, ” says mental health researcher Saul Böll, of the University of Basel’s European Second- and Fifth-level School of Psychology.

Using extensive data from an ethnographic study, it is become clear that this observation is influenced by age, and also by language.

With this study, published in the current issue of the Cell Biology journal Biotes physico-chemische Trakt, researchers analyzed data obtained from 29 early, non-Oriented, Middle East migrant populations about age, language, living culture, body mass, thought, psychological vulnerability, language, and migration history. Individual countries were also able to provide data about language, education level and the probability of chronic mental disorders and mental diseases among migrants.

In general, the size of populations in the South-East of the Mediterranean more closely resembled the average size of the unselected groups of pre-immigration societies correspondingly developed in Europe: It was found that in several late, nomadic, societies, the closer the tendency to have an enlarged brain is correlated with increased brain size.

Experts say similar observations are also likely to be particularly relevant to behavioral resilience that would be seen during development.

“Our results conceal a major hidden characteristic of the later non-Oriented – that is, greater line-size variation, as much, if not more, tenfold, across the migrant population relative to one’s parents, ” concludes the study’s first author, Emmanuel Sariouw, head of the Hôtel-Dieu Foundation’s European Behavioral Sciences and Welfare Programme.