By T. H. Saturday August 31 2019
A scientific study into the biological basis of sexual behavior has confirmed there is no single ‘gay gene’ but that a complex mix of genetics and environment affects whether a person has same-sex sexual partners.
The research, which analyzed data on DNA and sexual experiences from almost half a million people, found there are genetic variants linked to same-sex sexual behavior, but with negligible effects, according to Reuters.
Andrea Ganna, a biologist at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland, stated:
“We scanned the entire human genome and found only a handful of locations. These have a very small effect and explain considerably less than 1% of the variance in the self-reported same-sex sexual behavior.”
This means that non-genetic factors – such as environment, upbringing, personality, nurture – are far more significant in influencing a person’s choice of sexual partner, just as with most other personality, behavioral and physical human traits, the researchers said.
The study – the largest of its kind – analyzed survey responses and performed analyses known as genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on data from more than 470,000 people who had given DNA samples and lifestyle information to the UK Biobank and to the U.S. genetics testing company 23andMeInc.
Asked why they had wanted to conduct such research, the team told reporters on a teleconference that previous studies on this topic had mostly been too small to offer robust conclusions.
“Previous studies were small and underpowered. So we decided to form a large international consortium and collected data for (almost) 500,000 people, (which) is approximately 100 times bigger than previous studies on this topic.”
The results, published in the journal ‘Science’ on Thursday, found no clear patterns among genetic variants that could be used to meaningfully predict or identify a person’s sexual behavior, the researchers said.