Scientific study concludes there is no single ‘gay gene’

Scientific study concludes there is no single ‘gay gene’

A CONTROVERSIAL new scientific study has seemingly dismissed the idea of there being “gay gene” in the human genome.

Researchers from Harvard and MIT researchers conducted a genetic analysis of nearly half a million people using data from the UK Biobank and 23andMe.

While they found some genetic variants associated with same-sex relationships, genetic factors were found to account for 25% of same-sex behaviour at most.

Scientists conducting the research scanned the genomes of 409,000 people signed up to the UK Biobank project, along with 68,500 registered with the genetics firm 23andMe.

The human genome represents the complete set of genes or genetic material present in the human organism.

All of the participants were also quizzed on whether they had same-sex romantic partners exclusively or as well as opposite sex ones.

They concluded genetics could account for anywhere 8% to 25% of same-sex behaviour across the population, when the whole genome is factored in.

Researchers identified five specific genetic variants associated with same-sex behaviour.

Fascinatingly, this number included one linked to the biological pathway for smell while the others were inked to sex hormones.

However, combined these variants accounted for less than 1% of same-sex behaviour.

Ben Neale, an associate professor in the Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, who worked on the study published in Science, said:

"Genetics is less than half of this story for sexual behaviour, but it's still a very important contributing factor.

"There is no single gay gene, and a genetic test for if you're going to have a same-sex relationship is not going to work.

"It's effectively impossible to predict an individual's sexual behaviour from their genome." Fah Sathirapongsasuti, senior scientist at 23andMe, added.

"This is a natural and normal part of the variation in our species and that should also support precisely the position that we shouldn't try and develop gay 'curism'. That's not in anyone's interest."

Zeke Stokes, from the LGBT media advocacy organisation GLAAD, welcomed the study.

"This new research re-confirms the long-established understanding that there is no conclusive degree to which nature or nurture influence how a gay or lesbian person behaves,” he said.