On the distribution of nonrighthandedness among twins and their families

Acta Genet Med Gemellol (Roma). 1981;30(3):167-87. doi: 10.1017/s0001566000007649.


In 773 three-generation families of twins, individual probability of nonrighthandedness (NRH) depends significantly on the handedness of that individual's parents. The parents of twins are much more often NRH than are their nontwinbearing siblings. The twins and their siblings apparently inherit the excess liability for NRH shown by their parents. Monozygotic (MZ) pairs are significantly about twice as often concordant (casewise) for handedness as dizygotic (DZ) pairs. Overall, the best-fitting mode of transmission is autosomal, NRH dominant to RH with penetrance of about 50% in the heterozygote, or multifactorial, with heritability of 60-70%. Under the major-gene approach, heterogeneity seems likely, with about one-third of the families showing no NRH outside of the twin sibships. MZ/DZ concordance ratio is about four in those families, suggestive of recessive inheritance. A 1.16-fold excess of NRH in twins compared to their siblings, and a 1.8-fold excess in the second-born members of same-sex discordant paris, leaves open the possibility that a minor portion of NRH in twins may be secondary to transient hypoxia and/or acidosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex Factors
  • Twins*
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic