Handedness and situs inversus in primary ciliary dyskinesia

I. C. McManus, N. Martin, G. F. Stubbings, E. M. K. Chung, H. M. Mitchison

Abstract

...The limbs on the right side are stronger. [The] cause may be ... [that] ... motion, and abilities of moving, are somewhat holpen from the liver, which lieth on the right side. (Sir Francis Bacon, Sylva sylvarum (1627).)Fifty per cent of people with primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) (also known as immotile cilia syndrome or Siewert–Kartagener syndrome) have situs inversus, which is thought to result from absent nodal ciliary rotation and failure of normal symmetry breaking. In a study of 88 people with PCD, only 15.2% of 46 individuals with situs inversus, and 14.3% of 42 individuals with situs solitus, were left handed. Because cerebral lateralization is therefore still present, the nodal cilia cannot be the primary mechanism responsible for symmetry breaking in the vertebrate body. Intriguingly, one behavioural lateralization, wearing a wrist–watch on the right wrist, did correlate with situs inversus.