Is Left-Handedness Genetic?

Evidence suggests that although left-handedness is partly because of genetics, there are other factors that contribute to the condition. Experts have identified a connection between a gene called LRRTM1 and left-handedness; its presence on the father's side of the family might increase the chances of a person being a left-hander. People who have the gene do not automatically become left-handed, however. In fact, research into identical twins has shown that if one is left-handed, there is a 76% chance that the other will be, too.

More about left-handedness:

  • About 10% of the population is left-handed

  • As of 2012, there had been at least six US presidents who were known to be left-handed: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover. In addition, Ronald Reagan and James Garfield were ambidextrous. Earlier US presidents might have been left-handed as well, but there was little mention of handedness for presidents before the 20th century.

  • Machines, furniture and appliances are primarily designed for right-handed people, so left-handers have a higher risk of accidents and injuries. For example, left-handed people are 85% more likely to get into automobile accidents.

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Discussion Comments


How can left-handedness be called a condition?


Because we are not controlled by our emotions and can compartmentalize issues, giving us the edge to be more pragmatic. That's my theory.


Since the beginning of the Twentieth Century there have been twenty Presidents. According to the article, at least six have been left-handed (Ronald Reagan was described as ambidextrous so it is not clear how he started out). That means that thirty percent of the presidents since 1900 have been left-handed -- three times the percentage of the population. That suggests that left-handedness makes someone more likely to become president. I wonder why.

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