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PLoS One. 2010 Sep 21;5(9):e12886. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012886.

Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) precentral corticospinal system asymmetry and handedness: a diffusion magnetic resonance imaging study.

Author information

  • 1Biomedical Imaging Technology Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Most humans are right handed, and most humans exhibit left-right asymmetries of the precentral corticospinal system. Recent studies indicate that chimpanzees also show a population-level right-handed bias, although it is less strong than in humans.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We used in vivo diffusion-weighted and T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the relationship between the corticospinal tract (CST) and handedness in 36 adult female chimpanzees. Chimpanzees exhibited a hemispheric bias in fractional anisotropy (FA, left>right) and mean diffusivity (MD, right>left) of the CST, and the left CST was centered more posteriorly than the right. Handedness correlated with central sulcus depth, but not with FA or MD.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

These anatomical results are qualitatively similar to those reported in humans, despite the differences in handedness. The existence of a left>right FA, right>left MD bias in the corticospinal tract that does not correlate with handedness, a result also reported in some human studies, suggests that at least some of the structural asymmetries of the corticospinal system are not exclusively related to laterality of hand preference.

PMID:
20877630
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2943482
Free PMC Article

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