Last summer professor John T. Manning re-designed his popular 2D:4D digit ratio theory about finger length ratio development in the hand. While he had already mentioned the role of prenatal sex steroids, now the updated theory now focusses on the balance between sexe hormones (androgens) testosterone & oestrogen during the development in the whomb!

Professor Manning presented his revised theory in the PNAS magazine under the title: Resolving the role of prenatal sex steroids in the development of digit ratio.

Manning’s new working hypothesis now includes e.g. the following 7 key-elements:

1 – The 2D:4D digit ratio results from the balance between prental androgens testosterone & estrogen;

2 – A high 2D:4D digit ratio results from relatively low testosterone concentrations – OR relatively high estrogen concentrations;

3 – A low 2D:4D digit ratio results from relatively high testosterone concentrations – OR relatively low estrogen concentrations;

4 – The ring finger (= digit 4D) is featured with many more hormone receptors compared to the index finger (- digit 2D), therefore the 2D:4D digit ratio is mostly driven by changes in the length of the ring finger (due to prenatal hormone concentrations);

5 – Studies in human & animals indicate that the link between prenatal androgens and 2D:4D digit ratio is generally stronger for the right hand;

6 – 2D:4D Digit ratio varies with sexe: males generally have longer fourth digits relative to second digits than females;

7 – 2D:4D Digit ratio varies with ethnicity.

A quote from Manning’s article:

“Armed with this list of skeletogenic genes linked to 2D:4D, we can now be more focused in our examination of the links between 2D:4D and the etiology of sexdependent behaviors and diseases of the immune system, cardiovascular disorders, and a number of cancers.”

“Prenatal sex steroids [i.e., prenatal testosterone (PT), prenatal estrogen (PE)] are often implicated in the etiology of behaviors and diseases. They show sex differences (higher concentrations of PT to PE in males), with PT peaking at the end of the first trimester, and cause permanent “organizational” changes in the brain and other organ systems. It has een suggested that relative levels of PT and PE may have differential effects on fertility, speed, strength, aggression, autism, many cancers, and heart disease.”


Full report:
Professor John Manning  revised his 2D:4D finger ratio theory