Finger length linked to female athletic strength

Finger length could be an indication of a woman's athletic prowess, according to a new study.

Scientists found girls who are good at games have a shorter index finger compared with their ring finger. They based the research on x-ray pictures of the right and left hands of 607 female twins whose average age was 53. Most were right-handed.

The ratio between the two fingers remains the same throughout life and doctors believe the link could provide a simple way to spot youngsters with potential for sporting stardom at an early age.

The link has previously been discovered in men but it is the first time it has been shown in women and supports other research indicating a possible correlation between this ratio and fertility, reports Forbes.

The reasons for the findings were unclear, said one of the report's authors, Professor Tim Spector from the Twins Research Unit at King's College, who said he was originally sceptical about the link to sporting ability.

"Previous studies have suggested the change in finger length was due to changes in testosterone levels in the womb", he said.

But he said the unit had found in a separate study of twins that finger length was largely inherited, possibly explaining why sporting parents often have sporting children.

"We found that finger length was 70 percent heritable with little influence of the womb environment," he said.

"This suggests that genes are the main factor and that finger length is a marker of your genes."

He said no specific candidate genes had been identified for the link and that multiple genes were probably responsible, reports Reuters.