Cerebral asymmetry in twins: predictions of the right shift theory
journal contributionposted on 19.11.2007, 15:58 by Marian Annett
A study of the heritability of lobar brain volumes in twins has introduced a new approach to questions about the genetics of cerebral asymmetry. In addition to the classic comparison between monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, a contrast was made between pairs of two right-handers (RR pairs) and pairs including one or more non-right-hander (non-RR pairs), in the light of the right shift (RS) theory of handedness. This paper explains the predictions of the RS model for pair concordance for genotype, cerebral asymmetry and handedness in healthy MZ and DZ twins. It shows how predictions for cerebral asymmetry vary between RR and non-RR pairs over a range of incidences of left-handedness. Although MZ twins are always concordant for genotype and DZ twins may be discordant, differences for handedness and cerebral asymmetry are expected to be small, consistent with the scarcity of significant effects in the literature. Marked differences between RR and non-RR pairs are predicted at all levels of incidence, the differences slightly larger in MZ than DZ pairs.