Advertisement

Scientists Have Found Lefty DNA For The First Time

Scientists have proved for the first time left-handedness can be found in DNA.

Only about 10 percent of people are left handed but until now it is not known why there is variation in the population.

It has been established for some time that genetics played a role in left handedness. A study on twins found DNA inherited from parents determined their dominant hand.

But until now it has not been known how this looked in the general population.

Photo: Getty

Researchers from the University of Oxford analysed the genomes of about 400,000 people from the U.K. Biobank, of which 38,332 were left handed.

Four areas in the DNA structure of the left-handed people were identified as having mutations to those that are right-handed.

These mutations changed the way the  inside of the body's cells, called the crytoskeleton, are organised.

Regions of the brain influenced by handedness. Photo: G Douaud, University of Oxford

Researchers scanned the brains of the participants, and it was found the cytoskeleton changed the white matter of the brain.

"For the first time in humans, we have been able to establish that these handedness-associated cytoskeletal differences are actually visible in the brain," Professor Gwenaëlle Douaud, who was part of the research, told the BBC.

Research conducted at the Australian National University in 2006 confirmed theories that handedness is determined in the womb.

The research also found that most lefties process language in both hemispheres of their brain. Right-handed people tend to primarily use the left side for language.

READ MORE: Why Are We So Obsessed With Our Ancestry?

Testing on right and left-handed subjects concluded the connection between the two hemispheres of the brain were better connected in left-handed people.

Theoretically, this would make lefties better at sports, gaming or activities that involve stimuli because they can process the information quicker through both sides of their brain.

Photo: Getty

This new research from the U.K., published in the journal Brain on Thursday, speculates left-handers may have better verbal skills, although the data does not prove this.

However, they did find lefties have a slightly high risk of schizophrenia, but a lower risk of Parkinson's disease.

While this research proves there is a genetic link, it does not prove there is a single gene for handedness, but confirms genetic variants, as well as environmental factors, play a role.