Direct and radiographic digit ratio (2D:4D) measurements of Tuvan children and adolescents from Southern Siberia: Sex differences and skeletal maturation

Marina Butovskaya, Yulia Adam, Valery Batsevich, Todd K. Shackelford, Bernhard Fink (Korresp. Autor*in)

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


Background: In Mongolian-origin ethnic groups digit ratio (2D:4D; a proxy for prenatal sex-steroids) is sexually dimorphic (males < females), as reported for other ethnicities. Most studies measured 2D:4D from soft tissue (directly from the digits, or indirectly from hand scans), or from radiographs. Evidence on the correspondence of 2D:4D measurements from soft tissue with measurements from radiographic images is scarce and has not been reported for a Mongolian-origin sample. In addition, previous research has not considered relationships between 2D:4D and measures of skeletal maturity. Aim: To examine (i) associations between 2D:4D measured directly from the palms with those obtained from radiographic images of the same individuals in a sample of children and adolescents from the Tuvan population in Siberia (Russian Federation), and ii) associations between 2D:4D measurements with chronological and skeletal age. Subjects and methods: Participants were Tuvan boys and girls aged 7 to 18 years. 2D:4D of the right and left hand was measured from soft tissue (directly from the palm) and compared with radiographic images (left hand only). In addition to finger length 2D:4D, we examined 2D:4D of the phalanges from measurements of radiographs. Skeletal age was assessed using the Tanner-Whitehouse method. Results: Sex differences (boys < girls) in measurements of 2D:4D from soft tissue and radiographs were found for total finger length and phalanges. In addition, 2D:4D measurements from radiographs correlated positively and significantly with those obtained from soft tissue. Sex predicted 2D:4D measurements from soft tissue and radiographs, but no effects of chronological/skeletal age and body height were detected. In girls (but not in boys), earlier skeletal maturity (relative to chronological age) was associated with higher 2D:4D in soft tissue measurements of both hands, radiographic 2D:4D, and 2D:4D of the proximal phalanges. Conclusion: Consistent with reports from other ethnic groups, 2D:4D in young Tuvans was sexually dimorphic, with boys having lower 2D:4D than girls. For girls, higher 2D:4D was found for participants whose skeletal age was more advanced than chronological age. This finding was obtained from direct soft tissue and indirect radiographic measurements. Age and body height were not associated with 2D:4D, which suggests differences in hormone developmental trajectories for 2D:4D and height.

FachzeitschriftEarly Human Development
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Sep. 2023

ÖFOS 2012

  • 106018 Humanbiologie
  • 106056 Biologische Anthropologie
  • 302035 Kinder- und Jugendheilkunde