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The Big Finger: the second to fourth digit ratio is a predictor of sporting ability in women
  1. S N Paul,
  2. B S Kato,
  3. J L Hunkin,
  4. S Vivekanandan,
  5. T D Spector
  1. Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology Unit, St Thomas’ Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Spector
 Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology Unit, St Thomas’ Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK; tim.spector{at}


Background: The second to fourth finger length ratio (2d:4d) is thought to be related to diverse traits including cognitive ability, disease susceptibility, and sexuality.

Objective: To examine the relationship between 2d:4d and sports ability in women.

Methods: Hand radiographs from 607 women (mean age 54 years) were used to estimate 2d:4d. Ranking of sports ability was on a scale (1–5).

Results: The highest achieved level of participation in any sport was significantly negatively associated with 2d:4d (b  =  −4.93, p  =  0.01) as was the relationship between 2d:4d and running level (b  =  −6.81, p  =  0.034). Ability in other sports also showed a negative relationship albeit non-significant.

Conclusions: These results suggest that a low 2d:4d ratio is related to increased female sports ability. It can be postulated that this ratio may predict potential sports ability. Understanding the mechanisms underpinning this relationship may give important insights into musculoskeletal fitness, health and disease.

  • finger length ratio
  • ability
  • profiling
  • talent identification
  • women

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  • Published Online First 28 September 2006

  • Competing interests: None declared.