Genes for left-handedness identified

Genes for left-handedness identified

You might know that about 10% of people are left-handed. But did you also know that lefties apparently are better at verbal communication and verbal tasks than righties?

Thanks to a team of researchers from the United Kingdom, we do now. And, we know something about genes that code for left-handedness. Scientists writing in Brain: A Journal of Neurology shed some light on the subject.

To do so, they looked at brain imaging and genome studies on thousands of people included in the United Kingdom’s Biobank.

The researchers identified four different locations for genes that influence left-handedness. Three of these sites also are involved in whether a person develops neurological conditions such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. One of the study’s authors said there are more lefties with schizophrenia than one might expect, when compared with the breakdown of lefties and righties in the general population. Conversely, among Parkinson’s disease patients, the proportion of lefties is slightly lower than among the general population.

These same lefty genes also seem to help direct the creation of structural patterns, including verbal communication, in the human brain. The implications of all this knowledge could be very significant to our understanding of why individual people have the abilities and inclinations they do. There’s a lot of research left to be done to sort through it all.

What’s up next? Maybe an in-depth analysis of who’s more likely to be musically talented, or to excel at math. The possibilities seem endless.

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