Why there is no ‘gay gene,’ and other misconceptions about genetics

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Genetics underpins many of the modern advances in biological science, from treating cancers to developing sustainable agriculture. Recent breakthroughs in gene editing are also promising to help cure diseases once thought incurable. There’s no doubt genetics is incredibly important to today’s world.

But how much do you know about genes and DNA? If you get all your info from non-scientists, perhaps it’s not a lot. A quick look at the media often sends geneticists into fits of frustration with the falsehoods and factual inaccuracies being perpetuated by some newspapers, TV shows, and movies.

How many times have you seen a variation of the headline “Scientists find the gene for X”? Is there a gay gene? How about a left-wing gene, or an obesity gene?

“Most traits that we care about are influenced by many genes,” says Professor Phil Batterham, a geneticist at the University of Melbourne. “While variation in a single gene may sometimes have a significant influence on a trait, when you read the words ‘the gene for,’ you are likely reading nonsense.”

Read full, original post: The “gay gene” and other things people often get wrong about genetics

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