Menu

Digit Ratio and Sex Hormones

Men and women may have different finger-length ratios as a result of different sex hormone exposure during early embryonic development.

Sep 6, 2011
Tia Ghose

PIZZODISEVO, FLICKR

The balance of sex hormones may explain why men have different finger-length proportions than women, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Women usually have an index finger that is longer than their ring finger, while the reverse is true in most men. Scientists have long suspected that sex hormones play a role in this difference, but until now, had no experimental evidence for such a mechanism.

University of Florida researchers examined the developing fingers in female and male mouse embryos. When they tweaked the levels of estrogen and testosterone the mice were exposed to in utero, the finger skeletal precursor cells divided at different rates. The fourth finger grew proportionally longer in response to additional testosterone, while estrogen made the second finger longer. The results suggest that digit length could be used as a marker for early prenatal exposure to sex hormones in humans, which has been linked to some diseases.

November 2018

Intelligent Science

Wrapping our heads around human smarts

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice cutting tools—which feature our patent-pending safety blades—meet many lab-specific requirements. Our scalpels and craft knives are well suited for delicate work, and our utility knives are good for general use.

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

Every minute counts when waiting for accurate diagnostic test results to guide critical care decisions, making today's clinical lab more important than ever. In fact, nearly 70 percent of critical care decisions are driven by a diagnostic test.

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC’s Genomics division announced it is transforming its branding under LGC, Biosearch Technologies, a unified portfolio brand integrating optimised genomic analysis technologies and tools to accelerate scientific outcomes.