Hand preference is a conspicuous behavioural trait, with about 10% of people preferring to use their left hands for many tasks, about 1% having no preference, and the large majority preferring to use their right hands. Hand preference is probably initiated during prenatal phases of brain development, and further established in early infancy. Hand preference reflects a functional difference between the left and right brain hemispheres. Left-handedness is found at an increased rate in some psychiatric disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorder and Schizophrenia. Some risk factors leading to these disorders may therefore also affect functional brain asymmetry. We investigate handedness in large-scale population data, to understand which genes, brain networks, and other biological factors are involved.

Example publications:

Exome-wide analysis implicates rare protein-altering variants in human handedness https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-024-46277-w

Handedness and its genetic influences are associated with structural asymmetries of the cerebral cortex in 31,864 individuals https://www.pnas.org/content/118/47/e2113095118

A large-scale population study of early life factors influencing left-handedness https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-37423-8

Figure: Most people are right-handed - a trait linked to brain asymmetry, which starts to develop already in the human embryo.



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