Well Being

Gene for left-handedness is found

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Scientists have discovered the first gene which appears to increase the odds of being left-handed.

Oxford University's Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, lead by Dr Clyde Francks have identified a gene LRRTM1 which appears to play a key role in controlling which parts of the brain take control of specific functions, such as speech and emotion.  They also believe carrying the gene may slightly raise the risk of developing psychotic mental illness such as schizophrenia.

The study appears in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

The brain is set up in an asymmetrical way. In right-handed people the left side of the brain controls language and speech and the right side controls emotions.  However, in left-handed people the opposite is true, and the researchers believe the LRRTM1 gene is responsible for this flip.

It is anticipated that this study's findings will help scientists understand the development of asymmetry in the brain which is present in many psychiatric disorders.