Association between non-right-handedness and cleft lip with or without cleft palate in a Chinese population

Kimberly A. Wentzlaff, Margaret E. Cooper, Ping Yang, Christopher P. Aston, You E. Liu, Michael Melnick, Mary L. Marazita

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18 Scopus citations


The etiology of non-syndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (CL ± P) is unclear, although both familial and environmental factors are implicated. Because CL ± P occurs at approximately the time of brain lateralization and is most often unilateral, developmental asymmetry effects have been postulated in CL ± P etiology. Handedness is frequently used as an indicator of brain lateralization; therefore, several studies have examined the relationship between cleft laterality and handedness. However, these studies have had conflicting results. The present study investigated handedness in a Chinese sample of 211 non-syndromic CL ± P surgical probands (ascertained in Shanghai for family studies of CL ± P), 221 population-based hut unmatched controls, and 272 first-degree relatives of the probands. Handedness was assessed by means of laterality quotients (LQ) calculated from questionnaire data. Mean LQ's were compared, as were various arbitrary definitions of handedness based on the LQ, for cases versus controls, males versus females, right-sided versus left-sided clefts, and cleft lip alone versus cleft lip plus cleft palate. CL ± P cases had a significantly higher proportion of non-right-handedness (NRH) than controls, regardless of the definition of NRH (P values ≤ .001). There were no statistically significant differences for any of the other comparisons. Familiality of NRH was tested by comparing first-degree relatives of cases to controls; first-degree relatives were found to have a significantly higher proportion of NRH than controls, supporting familial effects in NRH. These results support the concept of a common etiology and/or developmental pathway for CL ± P and handedness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997


  • China
  • Cleft lip
  • Cleft palate
  • Developmental asymmetry
  • Handedness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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