Is homosexuality genetic? Some scientists are saying yes!
Gay and Lesbian
According to a new report, scientists believe they’ve linked the way genes in certain regions of the human genome work to influence sexual orientation in males. Authors of the new study say they’ve been able to use this information to successfully predict the sexual orientation of male identical twins at least 70% of the time.
In the study involving identical twins, scientists discovered that since twins have identical genes, something else — such as the way genes operate — may explain why some twins are born with a propensity for homosexuality, while others are not. They realized an identical male twin is gay or straight based on how genes in certain regions of the body work or “express” themselves.
“Sexual orientation seems to be determined very early in life,” said study lead author Tuck Ngun, a postdoctoral researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine of the University of California, Los Angeles. “Based on these findings, we can say that environmental factors might play a role in sexual orientation.”
Ngun was quick to clarify that he was not referring to the social environment in which we grow up, such as how we are treated by our parents.
“Instead, we are referring to differences that the twins could have experienced in the womb,” Ngun explained.
A variety of past studies have linked homosexuality to specific genetic regions, “but what’s still a mystery is the specific genes that are involved,” Ngun said. “Sexual attraction is a fundamental drive across all species but it is something that is poorly understood on the genetic level, particularly in humans.”
Gay and Lesbian
Qazi Rahman, a senior lecturer in cognitive neuropsychology at King’s College London in the United Kingdom who also studies sexual orientation, praised the study.
“While it’s small, the study’s design is strong,” Rahman said, adding that the study “tells us something about possible environmental differences — albeit biological differences in the environment — which might explain the sexual orientation of men who share the same genome.”
Gays and lesbians have frequently insisted that their homosexuality is from birth and not a conscious choice they suddenly decided to take up on their own. Now, at least there is some scientific evidence to back up these beliefs.
Although this is predominately positive news for gays and lesbians, some within the LGBT community have expressed concern about research into the biological roots of homosexuality, fearing it might cause future parents to abort fetuses who may not be heterosexual. “I am gay, so these questions have a lot of resonance with me on a personal level,” Ngun said.
“I do think we have to tread carefully because the potential for abuse is there. Although I think it’s highly unlikely that the findings of this particular research study would lead to a genetic test, future research could ultimately lead to something like that,” he added.
So, what do you think? Do gays and lesbians wake up one morning and magically decide that a life of homosexuality is the path they want to follow? Or are gays and lesbians born that way, as this scientific study seems to show?
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A new scientific study suggests homosexuality is genetic.