Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene For Left-handedness Identified

Date:
August 6, 2007
Source:
Oxford University
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a gene that increases an individual's chances of being left-handed. The research revealed a gene called LRRTM1; the first to be discovered which has an effect on handedness. Although little is known about LRRTM1, it is conceivable that it modifies the development of asymmetry in the human brain.

An international group of scientists, led by a team from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford University, have discovered a gene that increases an individual’s chances of being left-handed.

The research, which involved over 40 scientists from 20 research centres around the world, revealed a gene called LRRTM1; the first to be discovered which has an effect on handedness. Although little is known about LRRTM1, the Oxford team suspects that it modifies the development of asymmetry in the human brain.

Asymmetry is an important feature of the human brain, with the left side usually controlling speech and language, and the right side controlling emotion. In left-handers this pattern is often reversed. There is also evidence that asymmetry of the brain was an important feature during human evolution; the brains of our closest relatives, the apes, are more symmetrical than those of humans – and apes do not show a strong handedness.

The researchers also discovered that LRRTM1 might slightly increase the risk of developing schizophrenia. People with schizophrenia often have unusual patterns of brain asymmetry and handedness, so the researchers were not surprised when LRRTM1 also showed a possible effect on the risk of developing schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a disorder of the brain, which results in impaired perception and thought. It affects roughly one per cent of adults worldwide.

The study leader, Dr Clyde Francks, said: ‘People really should not be concerned by this result. There are many factors which make individuals more likely to develop schizophrenia and the vast majority of left-handers will never develop a problem. We don’t yet know the precise role of this gene.’

Some of the researchers involved in this discovery are now planning further study on the roles of LRRTM1 in the developing brain, and to find other genes with which LRRTM1 interacts. Dr Francks said: ‘We hope this study’s findings will help us to understand the development of asymmetry in the brain. Asymmetry is a fundamental feature of the human brain that is disrupted in many psychiatric conditions.’

A report of the study is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oxford University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oxford University. "Gene For Left-handedness Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070805141533.htm>.
Oxford University. (2007, August 6). Gene For Left-handedness Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070805141533.htm
Oxford University. "Gene For Left-handedness Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070805141533.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins