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Have scientists identified the genes which make you gay?

Josh Jackman December 7, 2017
Gay couple

Scientists have identified genes which are significantly more common in gay men.

This has reaffirmed the decades-old scientific theory that sexual orientation in men is genetic.

Alan Sanders MD, who directs the Behaviour and Genetics Unit at North Shore University in Illinois, discovered the results with his team.

Together, they pinpointed the genes by comparing DNA from more than 1,000 gay men to that of more than 1,200 straight men.

They scanned the subjects’ entire genomes looking for differences in their DNA, and found two gene variants which seem to be connected to their sexual orientation.

Sanders told New Scientist that there have been studies which suggest homosexuality in women is also genetic.

Lesbian sex

However, the scientific community’s understanding of women who are attracted to women is less developed, as there has been less research on the subject.

Sanders, who in 2014 conducted the largest study which had been carried out into the existence of a so-called ‘gay gene,’ warned against relying entirely on these gene variants.

“There are probably multiple genes involved, each with a fairly low effect,” he said.

“There will be men who have the form of gene that increases the chance of being gay, but they won’t be gay.”

It is understood that with many genes and factors playing different roles in a person’s sexual orientation, no one factor should be seen as the reason for a person’s sexuality.

It may also explain why sexuality is a spectrum, instead of simply binary and monosexual – that is, people either liking one gender or another.

Dean Hamer at the US National Institutes of Health, who made a breakthrough about the genetic homosexuality in 1993, said this latest finding was still extremely important.

“It adds yet more evidence that sexual orientation is not a ‘lifestyle choice,’ he said.

“But the real significance is that it takes us one step closer to understanding the origins of one of the most fascinating and important features of human beings.”

Earlier this year, Professor Jenny Graves wrote on PinkNews that “the claim that homosexual men share a ‘gay gene‘ created a furore in the 1990s.

“But new research two decades on supports this claim – and adds another candidate gene.

“To an evolutionary geneticist, the idea that a person’s genetic makeup affects their mating preference is unsurprising.

“We see it in the animal world all the time. There are probably many genes that affect human sexual orientation.

“But rather than thinking of them as ‘gay genes,’ she continued, “perhaps we should consider them ‘male-loving genes.’

“They may be common because these variant genes, in a female, predispose her to mate earlier and more often, and to have more children.”

More: alan sanders, DNA, gay gene, genes, Illinois, North Shore University, research, science, study, US, US

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