Genetic influences on handedness: data from 25,732 Australian and Dutch twin families

Medland, S. E., Duffy, D. L., Wright, M. J., Geffen, G. M., Hay, D. A., Levy, F., van-Beijsterveldt, C. E., Willemsen, G., Townsend, G. C., White, V., Hewitt, A. W., Mackey, D. A., Bailey, J. M., Slutske, W. S., Nyholt, D.R., Treloar, S. A., Martin, N. G., & Boomsma, D. I. (2009) Genetic influences on handedness: data from 25,732 Australian and Dutch twin families. Neuropsychologia, 47(2), pp. 330-7.

View at publisher


Handedness refers to a consistent asymmetry in skill or preferential use between the hands and is related to lateralization within the brain of other functions such as language. Previous twin studies of handedness have yielded inconsistent results resulting from a general lack of statistical power to find significant effects. Here we present analyses from a large international collaborative study of handedness (assessed by writing/drawing or self report) in Australian and Dutch twins and their siblings (54,270 individuals from 25,732 families). Maximum likelihood analyses incorporating the effects of known covariates (sex, year of birth and birth weight) revealed no evidence of hormonal transfer, mirror imaging or twin specific effects. There were also no differences in prevalence between zygosity groups or between twins and their singleton siblings. Consistent with previous meta-analyses, additive genetic effects accounted for about a quarter (23.64%) of the variance (95%CI 20.17, 27.09%) with the remainder accounted for by non-shared environmental influences. The implications of these findings for handedness both as a primary phenotype and as a covariate in linkage and association analyses are discussed.

Impact and interest:

113 citations in Scopus
100 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 92001
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Medland, Sarah E
Duffy, David L
Wright, Margaret J
Geffen, Gina M
Hay, David A
Levy, Florence
van-Beijsterveldt, Catherina E M
Willemsen, Gonneke
Townsend, Grant C
White, Vicki
Hewitt, Alex W
Mackey, David A
Bailey, J Michael
Slutske, Wendy S
Nyholt, Dale R
Treloar, Susan A
Martin, Nicholas G
Boomsma, Dorret I
R01 MH058799-03/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/
R01 MH066206-02/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/
R01 MH066206-03/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/
R01 MH066206-04/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/
R01 MH066206-05/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/
R01 MH58799-03/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Twin Study
2008/10/01 09:00
Neuropsychologia. 2009 Jan;47(2):330-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.09.005. Epub 2008 Sep 9.
Keywords: Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Algorithms, Australia/epidemiology, Birth Weight/physiology, Child, Cohort Studies, Female, Functional Laterality/*genetics, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Models, Statistical, Netherlands/epidemiology, Reproducibility of Results, Twins, Twins, Dizygotic, Twins, Monozygotic
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.09.005
ISSN: 0028-3932
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: © 2008 Elsevier Ltd
Deposited On: 19 Jan 2016 02:17
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 20:01

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page