DNA methylation in peripheral tissues and left-handedness

TitleDNA methylation in peripheral tissues and left-handedness
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsOdintsova, VV, Suderman, M, Hagenbeek, FA, Caramaschi, D, Hottenga, J-J, Pool, R, Consortium, BIOS, Dolan, CV, Ligthart, L, van Beijsterveldt, CEM, Willemsen, G, de Geus, EJC, Beck, JJ, Ehli, EA, Cuellar-Partida, G, Evans, DM, Medland, SE, Relton, CL, Boomsma, DI, van Dongen, J
JournalNature Scientific Reports

Handedness has low heritability and epigenetic mechanisms have been proposed as an etiological mechanism. To examine this hypothesis, we performed an epigenome-wide association study of left-handedness. In a meta-analysis of 3914 adults of whole-blood DNA methylation, we observed that CpG sites located in proximity of handedness-associated genetic variants were more strongly associated with left-handedness than other CpG sites (P = 0.04), but did not identify any differentially methylated positions. In longitudinal analyses of DNA methylation in peripheral blood and buccal cells from children (N = 1737), we observed moderately stable associations across age (correlation range [0.355-0.578]), but inconsistent across tissues (correlation range [- 0.384 to 0.318]). We conclude that DNA methylation in peripheral tissues captures little of the variance in handedness. Future investigations should consider other more targeted sources of tissue, such as the brain.