Study suggests no single
“gay gene” exits
Compiled by Tim Nedoba & additional media reporting
October 2019 - There is no ‘gay gene,’” says lead study author Andrea Ganna, a geneticist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts as reported in Science.com on August 30, 2019.
The study was undertaken by a group of scientists from universities and research institutes in the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, and Denmark.
Primary results of the study:
1) Discovered five genetic markers that were associated with same-sex sexual behavior.
2) Found some hints as to what these genetic variants do biologically.
3) Using genetic data, found evidence that sexual behavior is a highly complex trait and that there is not a single dimension of sexuality.
4) Many of the same genetic markers influence same-sex sexual behavior in females and males, but we also found some markers with sex-specific effects.
5) Found that the genes that play a role in same-sex sexual behavior partly overlap with those for several other traits, including openness to experience and risk-taking behavior. source: https://geneticsexbehavior.info
Same-sex sexual behavior is influenced by not one or a few genes but many. Overlap with genetic influences on other traits provides insights into the underlying biology of same-sex sexual behavior, and analysis of different aspects of sexual preference underscore its complexity and call into question the validity of bipolar continuum measures such as the Kinsey scale. Nevertheless, many uncertainties remain to be explored, including how sociocultural influences on sexual preference might interact with genetic influences. To help communicate our study to the broader public, we organized workshops in which representatives of the public, activists, and researchers discussed the rationale, results, and implications of our study. – Science, August 30, 2019
23andMe’s contribution to the study:
23andMe is a commercial company that specializes in providing individuals with analysis of their genetic makeup, including detailed information about ancestry, relatives, and predisposition to traits and diseases. 23andMe also has a robust, long-standing research arm with a unique model in which customers are given the option to consent to participate in research, and their large database of user genotypes and self-reported traits enables this genetic research.
The data provided by 23andMe also enabled the study group to understand the genetic relationship between same-sex sexual behavior and sexual attraction. Members of the 23andMe LGBTQ Community and Research Team also provided input on the interpretation of the study findings. 23andMe used an additional secondary consent form for questions about participants’ sexuality. All 23andMe data analyzed as part of this study was from people who had specifically accepted this secondary consent.
More research is still needed.