Commenter Ganzir writes:

Step 1: Locate the single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with higher IQ; not necessarily all or even most of them, just a moderate number would be enough

Step 2: Use genetic editing to change a T here, a G there, and A or a C here… preferably on a genome from somebody who had a high IQ already for best results; this would probably create an individual with a higher genetic “compound score” for IQ than the randomness of natural breeding ever has

Step 3: ???

Step 4: Profit (after they earn all the million-dollar prizes from the Clay Mathematics Institute)

I guarantee you the Chinese government is already walking this path, and there’s still time to change the road we’re not on. I advise not to waste it.

The problem with this is there are probably about 10,000 genetic variants associated with IQ so you’d would have to edit about 1000 of them just to raise IQ 10 points. And who knows how many other traits you might accidentally damage while raising IQ. Not to mention, many of these variants will be expressed in the growing brain so if you alter them in adulthood after the cranium locks tight, the brain might get too big for it’s skull, causing death.

But once they do figure out how to edit an adult’s DNA to increase his IQ by say 30 points, it would be fascinating to give said adult a battery of cognitive tests.

For years commenter “Mug of Pee” has belittled psychologists for believing intelligence tests can be classified as crystallized (acquired knowledge) vs fluid (novel problem solving). As Arthur Jensen noted, a typical fluid item might be Grass is to cattle as bread is to? while a typical crystallized item might be Pupil is to teacher as Aristotle is to?. In the first question, almost everyone has enough general knowledge to solve it so the variation in scores comes from making an inference within the test room. In the latter, almost everyone has enough reasoning in the test room to solve it, but the variation in scores comes from a lifetime of different rates of learning through inference so by the time you get to the test room, you know who Socrates was and how he related to other historical figures.

So fluid tests are thought to observe intelligence directly, while crystallized tests indirectly measure it. The indirect measures can sometimes be more accurate but they are lagging indicators which should be most noticeable in those who experience an organic change in cognition, at least in theory.

So if we could increase a person’s genetic IQ and then test them before they had time to update their neural hardware with the software of life experience, I predict they would perform much better on the so-called fluid tests than on the so-called crystallized ones. Of course I would expect some improvement on all tests because even experience based tests require the fluid retrieval of information and the ability to organize it.

About a decade after the gene editing I would expect the gap between fluid and crystallized to more or less close as the new and improved brain acquires knowledge and vocabulary at a faster rate.