Monday, April 21, 2014
Big toe and genetics: The long and the short of it
In some feet the big toe (or hallux) is longer than the second toe, while other people have the big toe shorter than the second toe. The length of the digits is thought by many to be controlled by controlled by one gene with two alleles, with the allele for the shorter hallux dominant to the allele for larger hallux. Despite this commonly held belief there is no good evidence to support the hypothesis and the small number of studies of toe length gives contradictory results. Whether the big toe is longer or shorter than the second toe is influenced by genetics, but it may be determined by more than one gene, or by a combination of genetics and the environment. Toe length alone does not demonstrate basic genetics.