20°C / 22°C
  • Wed
  • 27°C
  • 14°C
  • Thu
  • 19°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 18°C
  • 12°C
  • Sat
  • 21°C
  • 13°C
  • Sun
  • 25°C
  • 13°C
  • Wed
  • 27°C
  • 16°C
  • Thu
  • 27°C
  • 16°C
  • Fri
  • 30°C
  • 19°C
  • Sat
  • 25°C
  • 17°C
  • Sun
  • 20°C
  • 16°C
  • Wed
  • 28°C
  • 16°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • 15°C
  • Fri
  • 18°C
  • 13°C
  • Sat
  • 22°C
  • 14°C
  • Sun
  • 27°C
  • 14°C
  • Wed
  • 27°C
  • 13°C
  • Thu
  • 17°C
  • 12°C
  • Fri
  • 20°C
  • 12°C
  • Sat
  • 23°C
  • 13°C
  • Sun
  • 26°C
  • 13°C
  • Wed
  • 24°C
  • 20°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • 18°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 18°C
  • Sat
  • 27°C
  • 19°C
  • Sun
  • 28°C
  • 21°C
  • Wed
  • 19°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • 15°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 17°C
  • Sat
  • 26°C
  • 18°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 16°C
  • Wed
  • 27°C
  • 14°C
  • Thu
  • 34°C
  • 14°C
  • Fri
  • 36°C
  • 18°C
  • Sat
  • 34°C
  • 15°C
  • Sun
  • 22°C
  • 11°C
  • Wed
  • 25°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 29°C
  • 16°C
  • Fri
  • 31°C
  • 19°C
  • Sat
  • 29°C
  • 17°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 14°C
  • Wed
  • 30°C
  • 18°C
  • Thu
  • 25°C
  • 16°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 15°C
  • Sat
  • 26°C
  • 15°C
  • Sun
  • 28°C
  • 14°C
  • Wed
  • 26°C
  • 12°C
  • Thu
  • 18°C
  • 12°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 11°C
  • Sat
  • 26°C
  • 12°C
  • Sun
  • 26°C
  • 14°C
  • Wed
  • 25°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 24°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 26°C
  • 12°C
  • Sat
  • 21°C
  • 13°C
  • Sun
  • 32°C
  • 13°C
  • Wed
  • 19°C
  • 14°C
  • Thu
  • 21°C
  • 14°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 16°C
  • Sat
  • 26°C
  • 17°C
  • Sun
  • 19°C
  • 14°C

No 'gay gene', but study finds genetic links to sexual behaviour

The research, which analysed data on DNA and sexual experiences from almost half a million people, found there are thousands of genetic variants linked to same-sex sexual behaviour, most with very small effects.

Picture: Pixabay.com

LONDON - A large scientific study into the biological basis of sexual behaviour has confirmed there is no single “gay gene” but that a complex mix of genetics and environment affects whether a person has same-sex sexual partners.

The research, which analysed data on DNA and sexual experiences from almost half a million people, found there are thousands of genetic variants linked to same-sex sexual behaviour, most with very small effects.

Five of the genetic markers were “significantly” associated with same-sex behavior, the researchers said, but even these are far from being predictive of a person’s sexual preferences.

“We scanned the entire human genome and found a handful - five to be precise - of locations that are clearly associated with whether a person reports in engaging in same-sex sexual behaviour,” said Andrea Ganna, a biologist at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland who co-led the research.

He said these have “a very small effect” and, combined, explain “considerably less than 1% of the variance in the self-reported same-sex sexual behaviour.”

This means that non-genetic factors - such as environment, upbringing, personality, nurture - are far more significant in influencing a person’s choice of sexual partner, just as with most other personality, behavioural and physical human traits, the researchers said.

The study - the largest of its kind - analysed survey responses and performed analyses known as genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on data from more than 470,000 people who had given DNA samples and lifestyle information to the UK Biobank and to the US genetics testing company 23andMeInc.

Asked why they had wanted to conduct such research, the team told reporters on a teleconference that previous studies on this topic had mostly been too small to offer robust conclusions.

“Previous studies were small and underpowered,” Ganna said. “So we decided to form a large international consortium and collected data for (almost) 500,000 people, (which) is approximately 100 times bigger than previous studies on this topic.”

The results, published in the journal _Science _on Thursday, found no clear patterns among genetic variants that could be used to meaningfully predict or identify a person’s sexual behaviour, the researchers said.

“We’ve clarified that there’s a lot of diversity out there,” said Benjamin Neale, a member at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard who worked with Ganna. “This moves our understanding (of same-sex sex) to a deeper and more nuanced place.”

Sexual rights campaigners welcomed the study, saying it “provides even more evidence that being gay or lesbian is a natural part of human life”.

“This new research also re-confirms the long established understanding that there is no conclusive degree to which nature or nurture influence how a gay or lesbian person behaves,” said Zeke Stokes of the US-based LGBTQ rights group GLAAD.

Comments

EWN welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

- Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
- Sexism
- Homophobia
- Religious intolerance
- Cyber bullying
- Hate speech
- Derogatory language
- Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the EWN community a safe and welcoming space for all.

EWN reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

EWN is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

comments powered by Disqus