Researchers also looked at responses to other questions from the 23andMe survey, including people’s gender identity and the gender they fantasized about. There, they found considerable genetic overlap between these findings and whether people have ever had same-sex relationships, suggesting that these aspects of sexual orientation share common genetics, they said.
Dean Hamer, a former National Institutes of Health scientist who led the first large-scale study identifying a genetic link to homosexuality in 1993, said he was happy to see such a large research effort.
“Having said that, I would like to stress that this is not a study of homosexual genes – it is a study of what causes people to have a homosexual experience or more,” said Dr Hamer. , now author and filmmaker. The gene he identified was on the X chromosome, one of the sex chromosomes, a location the new study did not report as significant for same-sex sexual behavior.
“Of course, they didn’t find a gay gene – they weren’t looking for one,” Dr Hamer said.
Experts widely agree that the research was conducted by top-notch scientists.
“I kind of held my breath when I first saw the study – I was like, oh no,” said Dr Mills of Oxford. “But it’s the best geneticists and some of the best social scientists in the field who are working on this, so if someone had to do it, I’m glad they did.”
Indeed, Dr Neale, who also consults for several drug companies, said one of the reasons his team conducted the study was to make sure less careful researchers wouldn’t tackle it first, “Given how sensitive and hot this subject is and how personal it is.” is.”
Robbee Wedow, a member of the research team who also belongs to Out @ Broad, served as a sort of bridge, arranging for meetings between the researchers and their critics at the Broad Institute.