How do genes influence our sexuality? The question has long been fraught with controversy. An ambitious new study — the largest ever to analyze the genetics of same-sex sexual behavior — found that genetics does play a role, responsible for perhaps a third of the influence on whether someone has same-sex sex. The study of nearly half a million people, funded by the National Institutes of Health and other agencies, found differences in the genetic details of same-sex behavior in men and women. The research also suggests the genetics of same-sex sexual behavior shares some correlation with genes involved in some mental health issues and personality traits — although the authors said that overlap could simply reflect the stress of enduring societal prejudice. Even before its publication Thursday in the journal Science, the study has generated debate and concern, including within the renowned Broad Institute itself.
No single ‘gay gene’ determines same-sex sexual behavior, DNA analysis finds
Born this way? An evolutionary view of 'gay genes'
The relationship between biology and sexual orientation is a subject of research. While scientists do not know the exact cause of sexual orientation , they theorize that it is caused by a complex interplay of genetic , hormonal , and environmental influences. Biological theories for explaining the causes of sexual orientation are favored by scientists. The influence of hormones on the developing foetus has been the most influential causal hypothesis of the development of sexual orientation. The presence of the Y-chromosome in males prompts the development of testes, which release testosterone, the primary androgen receptor-activating hormone, to masculinize the fetus and fetal brain. This masculinising effect pushes males towards male typical brain structures, and most of the time, attraction to females. It has been hypothesized that gay men may have been exposed to little testosterone in key regions of the brain, or had different levels of receptivity to its masculinizing effects, or experienced fluctuations at critical times.
Why Does the Search for a Gay Gene Freak Everyone Out?
The news this week that the largest study of its kind failed to confirm the existence of a "gay gene" is not so much a disappointment for those looking to understand the LGBTQ community, as it is an acknowledgement that science does not need to tell us what should be plainly obvious: gays, lesbians, bisexuals and pansexuals are who they are. What does he mean by "environmental"? This new research also reconfirms the long established understanding that there is no conclusive degree to which nature or nurture influence how a gay or lesbian person behaves.
By Andy Coghlan. We have known for decades that sexual orientation is partly heritable in men, thanks to studies of families in which some people are straight and some people are gay. Both findings were confirmed in a study of gay and straight brothers in For the first time, individual genes have been identified that may influence how sexual orientation develops in boys and men, both in the womb and during life.