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Genetic Regions Associated With Left-Handedness

A new study has for the first time identified regions of the genome associated with left-handedness among the general population and linked their effects with brain architecture and make-up. The study which was had professors and researchers at the University of Oxford in the lead was funded by the Medical Research Council which is a part of UK Research and Innovation and also Welcome connected these genetic variations with the similarities between the areas of the brain linked to language and communication. It was known fact that genes play a fractional role in defining handedness (writing patterns) studies have shown that twins have a predictable per cent of 25% of the difference in handedness attributed to their genes but, these genes hadn’t been recognized or established among the general population. New research, available in the journal Brain, recognized some of the genetic variations/variants linked with left-handedness by examining the genomes of around 400,000 people from UK Biobank, which roughly included 38,332 left-handers.

Genetic regions associated with left-handedness identified


Out of the four genetic regions identified, three of them were related to proteins which are involved in the process of brain development and structure. In precise, these proteins were associated to microtubules, which are again a part of the scaffoldings present inside the cells termed as the cytoskeleton, which instructs in the construction and functioning of the cells in the body. Using comprehensive brain imaging from approximately 10,000 people, the researchers initiated that these genetic effects were related to the differences and variations in the brain structure in white matter zones, which contain cytoskeleton of the brain that again joins with the language-related regions of the brain. Dr Akira Wiberg, a Medical Research Counsellor at the University of Oxford, carried out the analysis and ruled out that “Approximately 90% of people possess right-handed writing patterns and this is the case from the past 10,000 years. Several researchers have known the biological root of handedness, but using large data-sources from the UK Biobank has allowed them to shack considerably, lighter segments on the procedures leading to left-handedness”.


“It was discovered that in left-handed people the language zones of the left and also the right sides of the brain interconnect with each other in a more organized and coordinated way. This again puts- forth the fascinating option or prospect for the future researches regarding left-handers possessing more of an advantage when it comes to executing verbal errands, but it must be reminisced and remembered that these variations were seen as means among huge numbers of people and not all left-handers will be comparable or similar”. Professor Gwenaëlle, joint senior author on this research, from the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging at the University of Oxford, reported that “Many animals also show left-right asymmetry in their development and growth including examples as in snail shells coiling towards the left or right and this coiling is driven by the genes for cell scaffolding, what is termed as cytoskeleton”.


left hand left handed factsFor the very first time in humans, the founding of these handedness-associated cytoskeletal differences is essentially noticeable in the brain. It is a known fact that from animals like snails and frogs presence of reverting back in both left and right directional effects are instigated by early genetically-directed events, so this advances the tantalizing likelihood that the hallmarks of the future advancement and development of handedness begin to appear in the brain in the womb phase. Researchers have also pointed-out the associations between the genetic sections involved in left-handedness and a very minimal way of possessing a lower chance of Parkinson’s disease, but a slightly higher chance of symptoms leading to schizophrenia. Nevertheless, the researchers stressed on the fact that these connect only resemble or parallelize to very small variance in the precise number of people with these diseases and are inter-connected to not depict the cause-and-effect. Reviewing genetic relations could help to improvise the understanding of how these grave medical conditions develop and lead to unrequired complications.


Professor Dominic Furniss, a joint senior author on this research from the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Science at the University of Oxford, reported that “Skimming through the history, left-handedness has been measured to be unlucky or even malevolent”. Undeniably, this becomes reflected in the words for left and right in many languages. For instance, in English “right” also has the meaning of correct/proper; in French “gauche” refers to both left and clumsy. Here I have spoken about left-handedness being a consequence or result of the developmental biology and architectural variation of the brain, in part powered by the complex interplay involving many genes. It is a portion of the rich tapestry of what brands us as human.







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