Feeds

Scientists uncover lefty gene

Also linked to psychotic illness

A new approach to endpoint data protection

Researchers at the University of Oxford have identified a gene that increases the likelihood of its carrier being left-handed.

The gene plays a role in developing brain symmetry and is also associated with an elevated risk of developing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.

Called LRRTM1, the gene is involved in allocating functions such as speech and language processing to different areas of the brain. Asymmetry in the brain is normal: ordinarily the left side of the brain controls language and speech, while the right deals with emotion. In left-handers this is reversed.

Unusual balances of brain function are not just associated with handedness, though, they are also linked to various psychotic disorders including schizophrenia.

But despite their findings, the researchers say left-handed people, that is one in ten of us, should not be alarmed.

Study leader Dr Clyde Francks, of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, 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."

Asymmetry in the brain may also have been an important evolutionary step: apes have much more symmetrical brain function than do humans, for instance, and show no preference for using either left or right hands.

The research is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?