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President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and former US President Barack Obama (centre), and Auma Obama at State House, Nairobi. [File, Standard]

Health & Science
The origin of left handedness. The phenomenon is shared by President Uhuru Kenyatta and former US President Barrack Obama.

Former US President Barrack Obama disembarked from Airforce One with a dash. In a black suit and sky blue neck-tie, complemented by a haircut which revealed the patchy grey hair, he looked decidedly presidential.

On the ground was President Uhuru Kenyatta to receive his counterpart. The July 25, 2015 State visit had lit up conversations in the country. But as the US President settled on the chair to sign the visitors’ book, the narrative changed.

He was left-handed and so is President Uhuru. Both were born in the same year.

A study by the US National Library for Medicine says that out of the total world population; 80 per cent are right-handed while the other 20 per cent left-handed.

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Today is the International Left-Handers Day, which is observed annually on August 13 to celebrate the uniqueness and differences of the left-handers.

The day was first observed in 1976 by Dean R. Campbell, founder of the Lefthanders International, according to Wikipedia.

US President Barrack Obama (seated) signs visitors' book during his 2015 visit to Kenya, as President Uhuru Kenyatta looks. [Image: Courtesy]

Scientists have attributed the “hand” phenomenon to an individuals' genetic make-up.

When trying to deduct this, the Scientific American postulates that individuals have genes which occupy the same location (alleles). The genes are named as D (dextral meaning 'right') and the other one is C (meaning 'chance'), the Scientific American study reveals.

It states: "It is the D gene that promotes right-hand preference in the majority of humans. The C gene is less likely to occur within the gene pool, but when it is present, the hand preference of the individual with the C gene is determined randomly."

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"Individuals with the C gene will have a 50 per cent chance of being right-handed and a 50 per cent chance of being left-handed," it further explains.

The study also reveals that the D gene, responsible for right-handedness, can be passed on from parents to children.

"The D gene is more frequent in the population and is more likely to occur as part of the genetic heritage of an individual," it states.

Explaining the existence of more right-handers, the study ties it to the parental genetic make-up which dictates their make-up of the offspring.

In most instances, the study says that the genes leading to right-handedness are much more pronounced.

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It states: "The proposed genetic locus that determines hand preference contains an allele from each parent, and the various possible genetic combinations are DD individuals who are strongly right-handed, DC individuals who are also mostly right-handed, and CC individuals who are either right-handed or left-handed."

It implies that for one to be left-handed, he or she must have CC genetic make-up which comprises the minority. Also, having CC genetic make-up is not an alternative guarantee of being left-handed.

Left-handed Uhuru Kenyatta Barrack Obama World Left-Handers Day

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