Genome-wide association study identifies 48 common genetic variants associated with handedness
Number of pages
SourceNature Human Behaviour, 5, 1, (2021), pp. 59-70
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
Nature Human Behaviour
Handedness has been extensively studied because of its relationship with language and the over-representation of left-handers in some neurodevelopmental disorders. Using data from the UK Biobank, 23andMe and the International Handedness Consortium, we conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of handedness (N = 1,766,671). We found 41 loci associated (P < 5 x 10(-8)) with left-handedness and 7 associated with ambidexterity. Tissue-enrichment analysis implicated the CNS in the aetiology of handedness. Pathways including regulation of microtubules and brain morphology were also highlighted. We found suggestive positive genetic correlations between left-handedness and neuropsychiatric traits, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Furthermore, the genetic correlation between left-handedness and ambidexterity is low (r(G) = 0.26), which implies that these traits are largely influenced by different genetic mechanisms. Our findings suggest that handedness is highly polygenic and that the genetic variants that predispose to left-handedness may underlie part of the association with some psychiatric disorders. A genome-wide association study of 1.7 million individuals identified 41 genetic variants associated with left-handedness and 7 associated with ambidexterity. The genetic correlation between the traits was low, thereby implying different aetiologies.
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