back to article Scientists uncover lefty gene

Researchers at the University of Oxford have identified a gene that increases the likelihood of its carrier being left-handed. The gene plays a role in developing brain symmetry and is also associated with an elevated risk of developing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Called LRRTM1, the gene is involved in allocating …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Definitely not right

    As a left hander, half of me says I should be worried about the possibility of being schizophrenic.

    But no worry about that, because the other half of me says its definitely not likely.

  2. Adam Bishop


    How many years of a cure for these unfortunate individuals are we?

  3. Lloyd

    Burn them!!!!

    Burn the witches!!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is all rather sinister

    Surely these people have rights?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: This is all rather sinister

    No, they have lefts

  6. Ross Fleming


    Look in a mirror.

  7. Sean Nevin


    Since the left half of the brain controls the right side of the body, and vice versa, only us left-handed people are actually in our right minds you know...

  8. Jason


    Yes, they did, but they gave them up when they became lefties :)

  9. Stephen

    What about me...?

    I was a lefty as a nipper, but my teachers forced me to use my rigth hand as I grew up... where the hell do I stand?

    Am I a mental?

    Am I a chimp!? - seeing as I can use both hands for many things...

    I just don't know who I am any more!!

  10. Trygve Henriksen

    To Stephen

    Yes, you are mental... ;-)

    Also, feel free to sue your teachers(if they are still alive) for mental anguish and cruelty. I would...

    (I think it has been proven that this kind of abuse only leads to stuttering and socially awkward adults... )


    I write with my left, w... with my right, butter my toast with my left(and a knife), and fire guns with my right.

    (It was easier than getting a special gas mask with the filter on the right side when I was in the RNoAF)

  11. Craig Leeds

    Lloyd is right

    We have stood for LRRTM1 defective freaks too long! Grab you're pitch forks people we are off to the town hall!

    Remember keep your eyes peeled for anyone talking to themselves and carrying there flaming torch or pitch fork in wrong hand.

    I would love to know how they figure this out. Do they have loads of people with different traits and just compare and cross reference there DNA?

    Maybe Google can help…

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder...

    Ayrton Senna was left-handed, so was a great tennis player (Boris Becker?).

    I guess the whole emotion/speech thing isn't reversed together with the handicap... Senna could keep the "good hand" on the wheel while shifting gears, back in the day when F1 was all clutch-and-stickshift, no semi-automatic available. He was always 0.5 seconds faster than any team partner, even Alain Prost. You could say that he was driving by instinct (or passion), rather than reason.

    As for me, (I am a lefty also) my emotions affect deeply the way I drive, even when I don't mean to. And I find extremely difficult to write anything with reasonably legible handwriting, even for myself to read it later. But I can write and speak at the same time, no problems there. I guess I am schizophrenic after all...

    But I feel I am in advantage when using a mouse in my left, I can shake hands with my best friends without even stop browsing El Reg! Not to mention games that require mouse and keyboard, the right hand is available for direction keys...

    How many, among geniuses, were left-handed? hmm.... let's see...

    Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Nikola Tesla, Picasso...

    Thank God for keyboards, anyway...

    Camcorders and scissors still bug me, every time I am supposed to use one. I suppose a bolt-action rifle, and a guitar, would also.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if its in the genes?

    so does this mean all schizophrenics are left handed?

  14. George Siegel


    Does this mean I can claim my left-handedness as a disability?

  15. Matthew Saroff

    Lefties are Craxy, huh.

    Well that explains why my left-handed wife married me.

  16. Paul

    I'm not crazy...

    ...I'm just differently normal! d-:

    I'm also utterly crap at most sports, particularly those involving hand-eye coordination. I guess the geek gene trumps the lefty one in that respect.

    But I *can* read text that's upside down, mirrored or has the letter order reversed. Which freaks people out just a wee bit sometimes. And kind of sucks with those puzzle books where the answers are printed upside-down at the bottom of the page. Apparently this is a common skill among left-handers (da Vinci with his mirrored handwriting being a good example).

    Anyway, I've got to scoot. There's an angry looking crowd of ignorant smelly yokels with pitchforks coming down the road...

  17. George Siegel

    Paul's right, or maybe it's left?

    While I've never been able to do the mirror reversal writing, I did accidentally discover many years ago that I can write upside-down without any special effort.

    It comes in handy when I have drawings or diagrams on my desk, facing the people sitting across from me, and then begin writing notes that are readable from their side.

    No one is much surprised by it though. As a network administrator, I guess it's assumed that I'm in league with the Devil.

  18. Michael


    "Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Nikola Tesla, Picasso..."

    I'm not sure what the exact quote is, but it's something like "genius is but a single step away from insanity..."

    "Camcorders and scissors still bug me, every time I am supposed to use one. I suppose a bolt-action rifle, and a guitar, would also."

    At least with the guitar, you could re-string it and play it left handed a la hendrix.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ned Flanders was unavailable for comment.

  20. Chris Goodchild


    I too am left handed.

    NO you're not!

    Yes I am .

    YOU are NOT!! AM TOO!!!

    But I am not schizo.

    Actually most left handed children grow up to be fairly ambidextrous adults and often are quicker at practical problem solving, usually via different logic to righties.

    Also because of the problems many of them experience with writing at school, they have a tendency to write in caps. And I am sure that I read somewhere that lefties are generally smarter IQ wise than you righties.

    I fire a rifle and bow right handed, write and eat left handed, fire a pistol equally badly with either hand, do up screws right handed undo screws left handed etc.

    As for using scissors, they're okay if you only use them for stabbing right hande critics.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm left handed

    I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

  22. James

    Back to the drawing board ...


    I'd heard, "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

    On another note ... there have been a lot of studies coming out recently about marijuana use and psychosis/schizophrenia. Is it possible that a bunch of the test subjects were lefties, and therefore at higher risk of becoming psychotic, even without smoking dope?

    Sounds like this new study will make others go back and re-do their pot research ... which is probably good news for those that took part in the first round ...

  23. Milo Tsukroff

    Sounds sinister to me!

    ... as in "sinistre" (I believe it's spelled), Latin for left-handed ...

  24. Jon Tocker

    re Paul

    Odd, because I'm a natural righthander and I can read upside down almost as fast as I can read the right way up (handy when the person opposite you has the newspaper lying flat on the table - I usually finish the articles before they do), likewise mirror writing, and reversed order. Perhaps it's a "geek thing" in my case.

    I'm also somewhat ambidextrous - can't write very well with my left hand but I can swap hands for most common household tasks.

    I use a bow, rifle or pistol with my right hand but (because my right eye is weaker and has difficulty focussing) I tend to angle my wrist when holding a pistol so I can sight it using my left eye - I have to shut my left eye and really force myself to focus when aiming a rifle or bow with my weak right eye. Can hold and fire a rifle with my left (to use my good eye for sighting) but it "feels wrong" and I cannot instinctively aim and shoot with my left.

  25. Sean

    I'm ambidexterous.

    Does that mean my brain is more symmetrical?

    When I first learned to write, while a toddler, I would hold the crayon in my left hand until I was halfway across the page. I would then switch hands and continue writing until reaching the edge of the page. My handwriting was the same regardless of which hand I used.

    Even today I can write with either hand, and the handwriting is nearly identical, the only real difference being I write a bit faster with my left.

    I can do almost any task with either hand, though naturally I have developped preferences.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many lefties?

    1/10 a lefty? Take a look at the Cricketers from Oz; I think you will find more like 7/11 lefties.

  27. Marco

    Re: What about me...?

    For many years lefthanded children were forced to use their right hands. Why? Because the left hand was not considered the "good" hand. As someone here rightfully pointed out, the Latin word for left is "sinister". There was no other logic behind this than the majority feeling people who were lefthanded had a defect.

    It was only much later that it was discovered that this forcing causes lefthanders to utilise the wrong side of their brains for certain tasks, not the least of them writing, and can lead to stress, anxiety, etc.

    By now your brain has gotten used to it. However, many "reformed" lefthanders who relearned to use their natural disposition have reported that it made them feel much more relaxed, once they reaccommodated, no matter how much they had gotten used to using their right hand.

  28. Russell Rimmer

    I know it's not IT, but can we at least be accurate?

    "...left side of the brain controls language and speech, while the right deals with emotion. In left-handers this is reversed."

    Complete horseshit.

    Language processing is done by the left hemisphere in ~90% of right-handed people, and about ~65% of left-handed people; i.e. left-handed people have a greater chance of the traditional dominance being switched (for this area). It's completely incorrect to say that all left-handers have the hemispheres reversed.

    To Milo - actually, the latin spelling of "sinister"(left) is, erm, "sinister"(sinister, sinistra, sinistrum, etc.)

    I write left handed but find myself doing a bunch of things right handed - peeling, cutting, tin-opening etc...I wonder if we're just a bit less specialised?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How many, among geniuses, were left-handed? hmm.... let's see...

    Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Nikola Tesla, Picasso...

    Which means that all the ohters were right handed eh?

    Still, there's far more stupid right handed people than there are south paws I'd reckon.

  30. Luiz Abdala

    @ Michael "I wonder"

    I am the poster of the anonymous "I wonder", I didn't mean that one to be anonymous... hehehe... that's the schitzo part playing... but I digress...

    Loved the comments, I will try eventually to re-wire a guitar, but I will piss off any righty that tries that one. But I would have to carry my "Hendrix" guitar everywhere.

    What about a rifle? That should be feasible, (just toss the technical drawings on CAD, and do mirror). Shouldn't it? Some crafty blacksmith, looking at a mirror, perhaps?

    I found a Left-Handed scissor, amazing how nice it is! To bad it broke when I was a kid, but I found a right-handed one, that was so tight, it worked for me. So, there it goes, if you can find a stainless steel scissor, bound by screws, you can tighten the screw, get it extra sharp, to the point it is usable!

    "genius is but a single step away from insanity..." true. Isn't Picasso the one that cut off a ear? If not him, which one? Could he use a bolt-action rifle better? Or listen to the left-handed tuned Violin? I couldn't help myself on that one...

    The camcorders remain helpless though... almost broke a nose trying to use one. (eye-piece to the left, puts the camera on center...)

    My mom is Ambidextrous, but she suspects she was left-handed as a child, and forced to use the right hand, she can't remember...

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