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Scientists discover 1,000 new genes associated with intelligence

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In a remarkable discovery, scientists have identified a whopping 1,016 specific genes associated with intelligence, many of which were hitherto unknown to science.

The study was headed by statistical geneticist Danielle Posthuma at Amsterdam’s Free University in the Netherlands. The international team conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of almost 270,000 participants – with some very fruitful results.

The large-scale study led to the unearthing of 190 new genomic loci (a fixed position on a chromosome) and 939 new genes associated with intelligence. The discovery serves to enlighten human understanding of the genetic makeup of cognitive ability.

Participants took part in neurocognitive tests that measured their intelligence. Scores were then compared with their DNA, alerting scientists to which mutations are associated with higher intelligence. This led to some other genetic discoveries, namely that the intelligence genes correlated with increased instances of autism, along with longevity, suggesting that carriers could be prone to living longer lives.

What’s more, the 270,000-strong sample led to the detection of over nine million mutations. Wading through this information, the team identified 205 regions in DNA code linked with intelligence – including 190 unprecedented ones. Of the 1,016 specific genes identified, 939 of these were brand new discoveries.

Meanwhile, presence of these genes demonstrated a negative correlation with cognitive health disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depressive symptoms.

“Our results indicate overlap in the genetic processes involved in both cognitive functioning and neurological and psychiatric traits and provide suggestive evidence of causal associations that may drive these correlations,” explain the researchers.

“These results are important for understanding the biological underpinnings of cognitive functioning and contribute to understanding of related neurological and psychiatric disorders.”

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Nigerian fintech startup, CredPal, secures more funding from Cairo Angels syndicate

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A Nigerian fintech startup, CredPal, has raised funding from the Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund (CASF), a micro-venture capital fund, to expand its “buy now, pay later” incentive to customers.

Launched in 2018 by the duo of Fehintolu Olaogun and Olorunfemi Jegede, CredPal has placed itself as one of Nigeria’s most preferred consumer credit platform that gives buyers the freedom to “buy now and pay later” and helps merchants acquire more customers to increase their sales.

According to Disrupt Africa, the Google-backed CredPal has over 85,000 active customers and over 4,000 onboarded merchants, with the company announcing in March it had raised US$15 million in funding to expand its consumer credit offerings in Nigeria and to scale across Africa.

While speaking on the new funding, Olaogun said:

“This support from Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund reinforces our mission to improve the quality of life of Africans through easy access to consumer credit.

“My co-founder and I are very pleased to have them as investment partners and can’t wait for how much we’ll achieve together.”

The Cairo Angels is Egypt’s first formal network of angel investors, and since its formation has been one of the most active early-stage investors in startups and high-growth businesses in the Middle East and Africa, with 31 investee companies across 18 different sectors.

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Nigerian auto tech startup, Autochek, partners with Kenya’s Pezesha to provide asset financing to African SMEs

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Nigerian auto-tech digital solution startup, Autochek, has entered into a partnership with Kenyan fintech, Pezesha, to provide asset financing to Africa Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

According to Autochek Kenyan Country Manager, Bilhah Muriithi, the company aims to build digital solutions that will enhance and enable a seamless and safe automotive commerce experience across Africa, with the hub starting with Nigeria and Ghana.

“Autochek has been focused on financing retail customers, we are excited to partner with Pezesha whose key focus is on enabling SME lending.

“Autochek will continue to invest in the market while exploring new partnership opportunities to deliver solutions for driving positive change in the automotive industry in Kenya and beyond,” said Muriithi.

Autochek, Muriithi said, plans to use technology to transform the automotive buying and selling experience for African consumers, by creating a single marketplace for consumers’ automotive needs, from sourcing and financing to after sales support and warranties.

Having expanded to Kenya late last year, the partnership between Autochek and Pezesha will enable SMEs to acquire auto assets for ease of business operations and growth.

Pezesha was founded in 2016 and has created a holistic digital financial infrastructure that connects small and medium-sized businesses to working capital offered by banks, MFIs, and other financial institutions or networks.

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