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

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. and Boomsma, Dorret I. (2009) Genetic influences on handedness: Data from 25,732 Australian and Dutch twin families. Neuropsychologia, 47 2: 330-337. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.09.005

Author 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.
Title Genetic influences on handedness: Data from 25,732 Australian and Dutch twin families
Journal name Neuropsychologia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-3932
Publication date 2009-01-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.09.005
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 47
Issue 2
Start page 330
End page 337
Total pages 8
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Language eng
Abstract 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.
Keyword Asymmetry
Behavioral genetics
Extended twin family design
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID R01 AA010249
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Psychology Publications
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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 18:33:42 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of School of Psychology