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Current Affairs

Genes linked to left handed identified

Date: 30 September 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

 Australian researchers have identified 48 new genetic variants which influence whether a person will be left- or right-handed, or ambidextrous, in the largest ever study of its kind.

 

Background

Scientists remained convinced that environmental factors play a larger role than genetics in terms of influence on handedness.

 

Details

  • The study analysed genetic data from over 1.7 million people, identifying 41 genetic variants associated with being left-handed, and seven linked with being ambidextrous.

  • More than 1.7 million samples from international bio-banks were used to study genetic data.

  • Coming from such a large data set, the results also reaffirmed the relatively small role which genetics plays in the process.

  • Factors such as injuring a hand or training by playing sport or musical instruments are likely to have a strong role in a person's ability to use both hands equally well.

  • Hand preference is first observed while still in the womb, with embryos showing single arm movements.

  • Researchers say that environmental factors play a larger role than genes in determining which hand a person favours.

  • Research also dispelled the belief that ambidextrousness was a middle-zone between left and right-handedness.