Genius, Madness Linked to Gene

Study links creativity to gene associated with mental illness
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2009 3:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – The reason why many creative people like Vincent Van Gogh show self-destructive tendencies is in the genes, researchers have discovered. Scientists in a new study found that volunteers identified as the most creative also had the highest levels of a gene variant associated with psychosis and depression, the Daily Telegraph reports.

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Volunteers with the highest levels of the gene—neuregulin 1—"were more likely to have higher scores on the creativity assessment and also greater lifetime creative achievements than volunteers with a different form of the gene," said the lead researcher. The study is the first to show that a gene associated with insanity can also have some beneficial qualities, according to the scientists. (Read more creativity stories.)

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