June 6, 2022 at 11:20 am

The Reason You’re Right Or Left-Handed

by Trisha Leigh

If you ask my grandfather, being left-handed made him special. The truth is that no one can choose which hand is their dominant one, and in this day and age, it doesn’t matter so much (unless you want to play baseball).

The majority of people in the world are right-handed, but why? And what makes some people persist in preferring their left?

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Image Credit: iStock

A study published in eLife thinks they might have the answer, and it doesn’t have anything to do with our neurological development at all.

Instead, they’ve concluded that which hand you’ll prefer is stamped into your genetic makeup from conception, just like your eye color or biological s*x.

Instead of being embedded in your brain, though, the team concluded the DNA can be found in your spine.

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Image Credit: iStock

“Our data suggests a spinal, not a cortical, beginning of hemispheric asymmetries.”

The researchers, a combined team led by biophysicists at Ruhr University Bochum, monitored gene expression in fetuses between 8 and 12 weeks gestation.

They detected developmental asymmetry in these early spinal cords that took place even before the motor cortex, which controls movement, was wired to the spine. This time of critical development also seems to be when a person’s left or right-handedness is decided.

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Image Credit: iStock

Research is inconclusive as far as whether or not environmental factors could influence this preference, though they did cite a belief that it’s possible.

So if you’re hoping for a little left-hander, stay tuned for updates.

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