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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e52315. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052315. Epub 2013 Jan 2.

Asymmetries of the arcuate fasciculus in monozygotic twins: genetic and nongenetic influences.

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  • 1Research Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and Department of Psychology, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.


We assessed cerebral asymmetry for language in 35 monozygotic twin pairs. Using DTI, we reconstructed the arcuate fasciculus in each twin. Among the male twins, right-handed pairs showed greater left-sided asymmetry of connectivity in the arcuate fasciculus than did those with discordant handedness, and within the discordant group the right-handers had greater left-sided volume asymmetry of the arcuate fasciculus than did their left-handed co-twins. There were no such effects in the female twins. Cerebral asymmetry for language showed more consistent results, with the more left-cerebrally dominant twins also showing more leftward asymmetry of high anisotropic fibers in the arcuate fasciculus, a result applying equally to female as to male twins. Reversals of arcuate fasciculus asymmetry were restricted to pairs discordant for language dominance, with the left-cerebrally dominant twins showing leftward and the right-cerebrally dominant twins rightward asymmetry of anisotropic diffusion in the arcuate fasciculus. Because monozygotic twin pairs share the same genotype, our results indicate a strong nongenetic component in arcuate fasciculus asymmetry, particularly in those discordant for cerebral asymmetry.

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