Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Digit ratio predicts sport performance in female twins   posted by the @ 9/27/2006 10:14:00 PM

From the BBC:

A King's College London team found women whose ring finger is longer than their index finger are more likely to achieve higher levels in sport. The ratio between the fingers has already been linked to traits in men like cognitive ability and sperm count. The study appears online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The researchers, from King's Twin Research Unit, examined hand X-ray images of 607 female twins aged 25-79 from the UK. In each case they measured the lengths of the second and fourth fingers of each hand. The volunteers also ranked their highest level of achievement in a list of 12 sports on a questionnaire. The researchers found women with longer fourth fingers were significantly more likely to be among the top achievers in all the sports listed.

I can't find the paper online, but I'd like to see it because the news report hints at that the result has a more fascinating twist.

Lead researcher Professor Tim Spector said: "The reasons for these findings are unclear. "Previous studies have suggested the change in finger length was due to changes in testosterone levels in the womb but we also found that finger length was 70% heritable with little influence of the womb environment. "This suggests that genes are the main factor and that finger length is a marker of your genes." The ratio between the two fingers is fixed before birth and remains constant during life. As this is the case, the researchers suggest that examining finger length may help to identify talented individuals at an early, pre-competitive stage. No specific genes have yet been identified that control finger length. Experts believe it is likely that multiple genes are responsible.

So perhaps the digit ratio is also largely heritable. Can anyone find the study?