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Genes linked to being right- or left-handed identified

Posted on September 13, 2013

A genetic study has identified a biological process that influences whether we are right handed or left handed.

hand

The front and back of a human right hand. Credit: Wikipedia.
Scientists at the Universities of Oxford, St Andrews, Bristol and the Max Plank Institute in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, found correlations between handedness and a network of genes involved in establishing left-right asymmetry in developing embryos.

‘The genes are involved in the biological process through which an early embryo moves on from being a round ball of cells and becomes a growing organism with an established left and right side,’ explains first author William Brandler, a PhD student in the MRC Functional Genomics Unit at Oxford University.

The researchers suggest that the genes may also help establish left-right differences in the brain, which in turn influences handedness.

They report their findings in the open-access journal PLOS Genetics.

Humans are the only species to show such a strong bias in handedness, with around 90% of people being right-handed. The cause of this bias remains largely a mystery.

The researchers, led by Dr Silvia Paracchini at the University of St Andrews, were interested in understanding which genes might have an influence on handedness, in order to gain an insight into the causes and evolution of handedness.

 

Read more at: MedicalXpress

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