Are transgender people born that way?

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A consortium of five research institutions in Europe and the US, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center, George Washington University and Boston Children’s Hospital, is looking to the genome, a person’s complete set of DNA, for clues about whether transgender people are born that way.

Researchers have extracted DNA from the blood samples of 10,000 people, 3,000 of them transgender and the rest non-transgender, or cisgender.

Knowing what variations transgender people have in common, and comparing those patterns to those of cisgender people in the study, may help investigators understand what role the genome plays in everyone’s gender identity.

“If the trait is strongly genetic, then people who identify as trans will share more of their genome, not because they are related in nuclear families but because they are more anciently related,” said Lea Davis, leader of the study and an assistant professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute.

Davis stressed that her study does not seek to produce a genetic test for being transgender, nor would it be able to. Instead, she said, she hopes the data will lead to better care for transgender people, who experience wide health disparities compared to the general population.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Researchers Prepare to Explore the Genetics of Gender Identity, With Caution