Viewpoint: Study’s inability to find a ‘gay gene’ provides affirmation for LGBTQ community

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Image: Australia's Science Channel

As a scientist, I am fascinated by the new international study that found thousands of genetic variants associated with same-sex sexual behavior, and not a mythical “gay gene.”

The findings offer an intriguing glimpse into the complexity of sexual behavior. It reveals some differences in the genetics of same-sex sexual behavior between men and women, for instance. It also illustrates that human sexuality is more nuanced than many believe.

But the study is compelling to me for another reason as well. As a member of the LGBTQ community, it is affirming. The data, in essence, say that same-sex sexual behavior is a complex trait governed by a number of genetic and non-genetic factors, like height and hundreds of other traits. And just as people range from tall to short, same-sex experiences are part of the normal spectrum of human sexuality.

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These genetic variants are far from being able to predict same-sex sexual behavior. Intriguingly, some of the variants with the strongest associations are linked to biological pathways for sex hormones and smell, providing tantalizing clues into possible biological mechanisms influencing same-sex behavior.

Read full, original post: Same-sex sexual behavior and genes: like love, the answer is complicated

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