U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Menu

Righty or Lefty? It's Largely Genetic, Study Suggests

Work with developing embryos provides new information.

Righty or Lefty? It's Largely Genetic, Study Suggests

THURSDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have identified a network of genes that influences whether you are right-handed or left-handed.

The researchers did so by looking at developing embryos.

"The genes are involved in the biological process through which an early embryo moves on from being a round ball of cells and becomes a growing organism with an established left and right side," study first author William Brandler, a doctoral student in the functional genomics unit at Oxford University in England, said in a university news release.

This gene network also may help establish left-right differences in the brain, which in turn influence whether a person is left- or right-handed, according to the study, published Sept. 12 in the journal PLoS Genetics.

These findings, however, don't completely explain right- and left-handed differences in people, the researchers said.

"As with all aspects of human behavior, nature and nurture go hand-in-hand," Brandler said. "The development of handedness derives from a mixture of genes, environment and cultural pressure to conform to right-handedness."

About 90 percent of people are right-handed. Humans are the only species with such a strong bias in handedness.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about being left-handed.  

SOURCE: Oxford University, news release, Sept. 12, 2013

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay.  All rights reserved.

HealthDayNews articles are derived from various sources and do not reflect federal policy. healthfinder.gov does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in news stories. For more information on health topics in the news, visit Health News on healthfinder.gov.

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®.