FOXP2variation modulates functional hemispheric asymmetries for speech perception

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Left-hemispheric language dominance is a well-known characteristic of the human language system, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this crucial feature of vocal communication are still far from being understood. The forkhead box P2 gene FOXP2, which has been related to speech development, constitutes an interesting candidate gene in this regard. Therefore, the present study was aimed at investigating effects of variation in FOXP2 on individual language dominance. To this end, we used a dichotic listening and a visual half-field task in a sample of 456 healthy adults. The FOXP2 SNPs rs2396753 and rs12533005 were found to be significantly associated with the distribution of correct answers on the dichotic listening task. These results show that variation in FOXP2 may contribute to the inter-individual variability in hemispheric asymmetries for speech perception.

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