There is no great genius without some touch of madness, they say. And now a new study has found there is indeed only a fine line between genius and madness as both share a particular gene.
Scientists have discovered that creative people have a gene, called neuregulin 1, in common which is also linked to psychosis and depression -- in fact, it plays a role in brain development but a variant of it is linked to mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Lead scientist Szabolcs Kéri of Semmelweis University in Hungary said this is the first study to show that a genetic variant associated with psychosis may have some beneficial functions.
"Molecular factors that are loosely associated with severe mental disorders but are present in many healthy people may have an advantage enabling us to think more creatively," he was quoted by 'The Daily Telegraph' as saying.
For the study, the scientists recruited a group of volunteers who considered themselves to be very creative and accomplished.
To measure creativity, the volunteers were asked to respond to a series of unusual questions. For example: "Just suppose clouds had strings attached to them which hang down to earth. What would happen?"