-- Alan Mozes
FRIDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- New genetic mapping of
children with reading difficulties suggests that those who carry a
particular gene mutation are particularly well-skilled in the use
of their right hand.
The apparent link between a specific variation of the so-called
"PCSK6 gene" and hand-motor control among dyslexic children is the
first hard evidence to suggest that there could be an association
between "handedness" and language disorders, the researchers
"This study provides the first genetic link between handedness, brain asymmetry and reading ability," study author Tony Monaco, of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford in England, said in a university news release.
"This is the first study implicating [PCKSK6] with handedness," he added. "The fact that this association also seems to be apparent in people with dyslexia provides an interesting clue to explore whether there is a link between handedness and language-related disorders."
Monaco and his colleagues report their findings in the Nov. 5
online edition of
Human Molecular Genetics.
The authors noted that most people -- including most children
with dyslexia -- are right-handed. However, the study found that
among a group of 192 dyslexic children, those who had the mutation
were, on average, even more skilled with the use of their right
hand (relative to their left hand) than those who didn't carry the
Giving the finding some context, the researchers pointed out
that the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body
-- and vice versa. Given the general propensity for
right-handedness, researchers have viewed the left side of the
brain as dominant in terms of motor control. Coupled with the fact
that the left hemisphere is also known to exert dominance over
language skills, the theory had emerged that "hand favoritism" and
language disorders could be associated with one another. But until
now efforts to uncover a genetic foundation for this notion had
turned up nothing.
The new finding lends this theory some support, the researchers
said. And Monaco and his team think their observations could help
to expand further explorations into the underlying biology of
For more on dyslexia, visit the
U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and
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