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The genetic architecture of structural left-right asymmetry of the human brain

By Zhiqiang Sha, Dick Schijven, Amaia Carrion-Castillo, Marc Joliot, Bernard Mazoyer, SE Fisher, Fabrice Crivello, Clyde Francks

Posted 30 Jun 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.30.179721

Left-right hemispheric asymmetry is an important aspect of healthy brain organization for many functions including language, and can be altered in cognitive and psychiatric disorders1-8. No mechanism has yet been identified for establishing the human brain's left-right axis9. We performed multivariate genome-wide association scanning (mvGWAS) of cortical regional surface area and thickness asymmetries, and subcortical volume asymmetries, using data from 32,256 participants from the UK Biobank. There were 21 significant loci affecting different aspects of brain asymmetry, with functional enrichment involving microtubule-related genes and embryonic brain expression. These findings are consistent with a known role of the cytoskeleton in left-right axis determination in other organs of invertebrates and frogs10-12. Genetic variants affecting brain asymmetry overlapped with those influencing autism, educational attainment and schizophrenia. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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