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Gay genes identified? Research met with ‘severe criticism’

| | December 14, 2017

The GLP posts this article or excerpt as part of a daily curated selection of biotechnology-related news, opinion and analysis.

Scanning the genomes of 1,077 homosexual men and 1,231 heterosexual men, researchers identified several genetic regions with multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that segregate between the two groups. But the findings, published today (December 7) in Scientific Reports, have been met with severe criticism.

“This study is way, way, way too small to draw any meaningful conclusion,” Jeffrey Barrett of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute says in a statement for Science Media Centre (SMC). “None of their findings meets the accepted thresholds for statistical significance in a genome-wide association study (which is why it is published in Scientific Reports). The comments about SLITRK6 and TSHR are utter speculation, and don’t belong anywhere near a modern genetic study—we had decades of such claims that never held up because they didn’t meet statistical significance.”

“The researchers have found weak evidence for genetic variation that influences self-reported sexual preferences in men. However, the sample size is small, the results have not been replicated in an independent study and the level of evidence presented doesn’t meet the threshold of significance typically required within the field,” agrees Gil McVean of the University of Oxford in a statement for SMC. “The press release is appropriate, but I don’t think the work would have been published if it were on a less controversial topic. It is—at best—preliminary.”

Read full, original post: Putative Gay Genes Identified, Questioned

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