'Lefties' gene found

August 10, 2007

An international group of scientists has discovered a gene that increases an individual's chances of being left-handed.

The study, led by a team from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford University and published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, reveals a gene called LRRTM1 - the first to be discovered that has an effect on handedness.

Although little is known about LRRTM1, the Oxford team suspects that it modifies the development of asymmetry in the brain. The left side of the brain usually controls speech and language, while the right side controls emotion. In left-handers, however, this pattern is often reversed. The study involved more than 40 scientists from 20 research centres worldwide.

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