“Lefties” and “righties” explained by genes
Whether you’re left- or right-handed could be partially caused by genetics, according to researchers from the U.K.
Humans are the only species that shows a strong preference for what hand they use-- approximately 90 percent of the population is right-handed. And the new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found correlations between what hand people prefer to use and the presence of certain genes within developing embryos.
Through a study of more than 700 people with dyslexia, scientists determined that one gene in particular was strongly associated with establishing left-right differences in the brain and believe it could influence handedness. The results were then replicated in a study of 2,600 people without dyslexia.
The findings added to evidence from previous studies that this particular gene (PCSK6) is associated with left-right differences in the bodies of mice.
The study’s results suggest that whether an individual prefers to use his or her right or left hand could be a trait caused, at least in part, by genes linked to left-right body differences and the molecular mechanisms that occur early in development, researchers said.
William Brandler, of the MRC Functional Genomics Unit at Oxford University and lead author of the study, said these results do not completely explain the variation of left- and right-handedness among humans. Rather, genetics are one of the several factors that can contribute to the development of handedness, in addition to environment, upbringing and cultural pressures.