Left-Handed DNA Instructions Identified, And They Alter Brain Structure

Genetic regions associated with left-handedness identified

Genetic regions associated with left-handedness identified

Dr. Akira Wiberg a medical research council fellow at the University of Oxford said that roughly 90 percent of people are right-handed and this has been the situation for at least 10,000 years.

Scientists already knew that genes play a role in determining handedness.

"This raises the intriguing possibility for future research that left-handers might have an advantage when it comes to performing verbal tasks, but it must be remembered that these differences were only seen as averages over very large numbers of people, and not all left-handers will be similar", he said in a news release from UK Research and Innovation, which funded the study.

The study is a fascinating one, using thousands of brain scans and hundreds of thousands of sequenced genomes to look for associations between genes, brains and hands.

The scientists from the University of Oxford used the UK Biobank data on 400,000 people, out of who, there were only 38,000 left-handed people.

It also found "significant positive correlation" between left-handedness and mental health outcomes such as sensitivity, having "fed-up feelings" and being a "worrier". Specifically, these proteins were affiliated to microtubules which constitute the segment of scaffolding inside cells known as the cytoskeleton, which directs the structure and operation of the cells in the body.

The team's study appears in the journal Brain, a Journal of Neurology. And that because the left-handed DNA instructions change the brain structure and functions, improving the verbal skills.

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In the left-handed participants, the two halves of the brain - the left and right hemispheres - were better connected and more co-ordinated in regions involved in language.

Being left-handed has often led to a raw deal.

Smithsonian.com has more on being left-handed.

"What this study shows is that being left-handed is just a outcome of the developmental biology of the brain, it has nothing to do with luck or maliciousness", Prof Furniss said. "This adds to the understanding of what makes us human", said Professor Dominic Furniss, also one of the authors of the new study.

The best guess is handedness is 25 per cent genetic and 75pc down to the environment (anything that's not in the genes). In addition, the study was conducted only in the British population.

So, much more work is needed to understand the genetic component of handedness in people across the globe, never mind what the huge environmental effects are, and then piece together how those elements result in people being either left- or right-handed.

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