Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Unraveling the Genetic Tapestry of Left-Handedness: Insights from Rare Variants and Neurodevelopmental Connections


According to a study conducted by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, rare genetic variants are associated with human left-handedness. The researchers analyzed the genetic data of more than 350,000 individuals and identified specific rare coding variants in genes that are significantly linked to left-handedness. One of the key genes identified was TUBB4B, which is responsible for coding tubulins that play a crucial role in the development of neurons and the formation of microtubules, essential for cell shape.

Although the overall heritability of left-handedness attributed to these rare variants is only about 1%, the study suggests that left-handed individuals are 2.7 times more likely to have rare variants in TUBB4B. The researchers also investigated potential connections between left-handedness and neurodevelopmental or neurodegenerative disorders. However, they did not find any association with genes implicated in neurodegenerative diseases. Nevertheless, they discovered that variants in two genes associated with autism, DSCAM, and FOXP1, showed a significant link to left-handedness, suggesting a possible involvement in the brain's development of the left-right axis.

This research provides new insights into the genetic factors influencing left-handedness and its association with certain neurodevelopmental conditions, emphasizing the role of microtubules and relevant genes in these processes. 

What really caught my attention is the connection to neurodevelopmental disorders like autism. As someone who's always been interested in understanding the brain, seeing how genes linked to autism, such as DSCAM and FOXP1, are also tied to left-handedness is truly eye-opening. It makes me wonder about the intricate ways our brains develop and how something as seemingly minor as handedness could be intertwined with more complex neurological processes.

1 comment:

  1. I also think the connection between neurodevelopment disorders and left-handedness is pretty interesting. Especially when it comes to the brain, seeing how different things are interconnected is always pretty thought-provoking! This was a really cool article.