Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Approximately 10% of the population is left-handed, and the balance between lefties and righties has been the same for almost 5,000 years. People used to believe that left-handed people were evil or unlucky. The word "sinister" is even derived from the Latin word for "left."

In modern times, the bias against lefties for being different is more benign – spiral notebooks are a torture device, and ink gets on their hands like a scarlet letter. Now, a new study conducted at the University of Oxford and published in Brain is giving left-handers some good news. While left-handers have been struggling with tools meant for right-handers all these years, it turns out, they actually possess superior verbal skills.

Researchers looked at the DNA of 400,000 people in the U.K. from a volunteer bank. Of those 400,000 people, 38,332 were southpaws. Scientists were able to find the differences in genes between lefties and righties, and that these genetic variants resulted in a difference in brain structure, too. "It tells us for the first time that handedness has a genetic component," Gwenaëlle Douaud, joint senior author of the study and a fellow at Oxford's Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, told the BBC.

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Cassandra Trimnell was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia in 1987 when she was just a baby.

She inherited the gene that causes this disease from both of her parents, meaning she has sickle cell type SS. This means she can experience the worst symptoms — including fatigue, extreme joint pain, anemia, and infections — at a higher rate.  

She's not the only one with sickle cell in her family either. Her younger sister Joanne was also born with it, and two of her other siblings have the trait, which means they don't have the disease but can pass it along to their children.

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Huntington's disease is caused by a single mutation in someone's DNA.

A normal protein, huntingtin, becomes warped and toxic. Over time, the toxic protein builds up, killing a person's brain cells and slowly robbing them of cognitive and motor control.

It affects about 30,000 Americans, often shows up later in life, and is fatal. Because it's a genetic disease, it can be passed down through families. It's cruel, unfair, and nobody deserves it.

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Nómade the elephant was born without tusks. Now her mutation is mainstream.

Evolution could help defend elephants from poachers — but that might not be a good thing.

Growing up in war-torn Mozambique wasn't easy for Nómade the elephant.

Mozambique, a southeastern African nation, gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. Then two years later, the Cold War found its way onto Mozambican soil in a bloody conflict that lasted until the mid-1990s and claimed up to a million human lives and displacing even more.

When the human forces weren't directly at each other's throats, they scavenged the savannah for animals they could kill for meat and ivory to trade for weapons or cash. But Nómade survived, along with 11 of her sisters, thanks in part to a miracle mutation that left them without tusks.

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