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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2017, Article ID 1048302, 5 pages
Research Article

The 2D : 4D Digit Ratio as a Biomarker for Autism Spectrum Disorder

1Division of Pharmacology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
2Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
3Nutricia Research, Utrecht, Netherlands
4Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Correspondence should be addressed to J. C. Verster; ln.uu@retsrev.c.j

Received 4 February 2017; Revised 23 May 2017; Accepted 18 June 2017; Published 19 July 2017

Academic Editor: Robert F. Berman

Copyright © 2017 M. Mackus et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


It has been suggested that the second (2D, index finger) to fourth (4D, ring finger) digit ratio, 2D : 4D, may be a biomarker for the risk of developing autism. The aim of the current study was to determine the usefulness of the 2D : 4D digit ratio as biomarker for autistic traits. healthy young volunteers participated in the study. For both hands, digit lengths were measured using digital Vernier calipers. In addition to demographics, the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) questionnaire was completed, comprised of five subscales, assessing “social insights and behavior,” “attention switching,” “communication,” “imagination,” and “attention to detail.” Overall, no significant correlations were observed between the AQ total score, its subscales, and the 2D : 4D digit ratio. For women, the left hand 2D : 4D digit ratio correlated significantly with the subscale score “communication” (; ). For men, a significant positive correlation was found between the left 2D : 4D digit ratio and the total AQ score (; ) and AQ subscale “attention switching” (; ). In conclusion, gender specific associations between the 2D : 4D digit ratio and specific autism traits were observed, which were stronger in men than in women. Future studies should be conducted in patients that are formally diagnosed with autism.