Handedness, Left/Right: Genetics


A notable characteristic of the human species is that a majority of its population tends to favor the use of the right hand rather than the left, while a minority tends to favor the use of the left hand rather than the right. It has been often proposed that this pattern of behavior, although subject to modulation by social and other factors, represents a manifestation of underlying genetic variation.

Keywords: handedness; laterality; asymmetry; left‐handed; right‐handed


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Further Reading

Annett M (2002) Handedness and Brain Asymmetry: The Right Shift Theory. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Bock GR and Marsh J (eds.) (1991) Biological Asymmetry and Handedness. Ciba Foundation Symposium 162 Chichester, UK: Wiley.

Bradshaw JL and Rogers LJ (1993) The Evolution of Lateral Asymmetries, Language, Tool Use, and Intellect San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Corballis M (2002) From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

McGrew WC and Marchant LF (1997) On the other hand: current issues in and meta‐analysis of the behavioral laterality of hand function in nonhuman primates. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 40: 201–232.

McManus IC and Bryden MP (1993) The neurobiology of handedness, language, and cerebral dominance: a model for the molecular genetics of behavior. Johnson MH (ed.) Brain Development and Cognition, pp. 679–702. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Scientific

McManus C (2002) Right Hand, Left Hand: The Origins of Asymmetry in Brains, Bodues, Atoms and Cultures. London, UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Springer SP and Deutsch G (1997) Left Brain, Right Brain: Perspective from Cognitive Neuroscience. 5th edn. New York, NY: Freeman.

Van Agtmael T, Forrest SM and Williamson R (2002) Parametric and non‐parametric linkage analysis of several candidate regions for genes for human handedness. European Journal of Human Genetics 10: 623–630.

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Jones, Gregory V, and Martin, Maryanne(Jan 2006) Handedness, Left/Right: Genetics. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0005961]