Newswise - Scientists have looked in vain for years for a gay gene, andnow a researcher may have finally found one. By searchingthe entire human genome for genetic markers for male sexualorientation, he has identified several areas that appear toinfluence whether a man is heterosexual or homosexual.
Brian Mustanski, working at the National Institutes ofHealth, found stretches of DNA that appear to be linked tosexual orientation on three different chromosomes in thenucleus of the male cell. He says, "There is no one 'gay'gene. Sexual orientation is a complex trait, so it's notsurprising that we found several DNA regions involved in itsexpression. Our best guess is that multiple genes,potentially interacting with environmental influences,explain differences in sexual orientation."
The DNA of 456 men from 146 families with two or more gaybrothers were analyzed. While earlier studies had focusedonly on the X chromosome, the new study examined all 22pairs of non-sex chromosomes in addition to the Xchromosome. Women have two X chromosomes, while men have oneX and one Y. The X chromosome is always inherited from yourmother, while your father can pass along either an X or a Ychromosome.
Identical stretches of DNA on three chromosomes were foundto be shared in about 60% of the gay brothers in the study,compared to about 50% that would be explained by chance.
"Our study helps to establish that genes play an importantrole in determining whether a man is gay or heterosexual,"says Mustanski. "The next steps will be to see if thesefindings can be confirmed and to identify the particulargenes within these newly discovered chromosomal sequencesthat are linked to sexual orientation."
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Is there sex inheaven?Find out this weekend on Mysterious Powers, when AnneStrieber interviews a man who claims to have channeled hisguardian angel!
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