WEEKLY UPDATE: September 12, 2019
SUMMARY: Identification of 4 novel genetic variants correlated with handedness.
DESCRIPTION: Are you a righty or a lefty? Nearly 90% of individuals are right-handed. While handedness appears to be hereditary, the genetics that determines handedness is poorly understood. This genome-wide association study of nearly 400,000 individuals of European ancestry identified 4 novel genetic variants correlated to handedness. These variants help explain ~1% of the heritability of handedness. Of these, 3 are in or near genes that play a role in the development and organization of the brain, specifically the areas that process language. The discovered variants are also associated with multiple psychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions, including Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia.
DID YOU KNOW? The skew of handedness is unique to humans! While some animals seem to prefer using one hand (or leg or paw) over the other, the ratio is nearly always 50-50. [SOURCE]