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Study Finds Weak Genetic Association with Sexual Orientation

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Published on : Dec 08, 2017

A new study published Thursday in peer-reviewed journal, Scientific Reports has discovered a frail association between sexual orientation and several genes. However, scientists have been cautioning people against overinterpreting the results and that there has been no discovery of “gay gene” or anything as such. As per the study, it has been found that regions on two chromosomes appeared to vary the most between people who are straight and those who are homosexual. The genome-wide association study, however, has pointed out that the genomes of straight and gay men, on the whole, had not been suggestively different.

Scientifically Understudied Sexual Orientation Important to Biology

An author of the paper and NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute psychiatrist, Dr. Alan Sanders has said that everybody knows sexual orientation has some genetic or hereditary contributions. However, people today use a shorthand such as “gay gene,” which is not really accurate, according to Sanders. Genes could only play a small part in shaping the sexual identity of a person – Sanders has estimated the contribution to be around a 30.0%. Other factors such as the environment and the ones in society could largely influence sexual orientation.

Nearly a 1,000 gay men had been involved in the study, who were recruited from gay pride parades and similar events. All of the participants were white and had their genomes analyzed. The study had excluded participants identified as bisexual. University of Oxford statistical geneticist, Gil McVean called the work of the study “preliminary” at best. Two scientists had been cautious and critical about the findings, which was evident from their comments communicated via the Science Media Center. Francis Crick Institute’s developmental biologist, Robin Lovell-Badge had written that it does not mean a gene is responsible for a person being gay if its variant shows some correlation with sexual orientation.

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