Homosexuality only partly linked to genes, scientists say

Homosexuality is only partly genetic with sexuality mostly based on environmental and social factors, scientists believe.

A study found that, while gay men shared similar genetic make-up, it only accounted for 40 per cent of the chance of a man being homosexual.

But scientists say it could still be possible to develop a test to find out if a baby was more likely to be gay.

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, Dr Michael Bailey, of Northwestern University in the United States, has been studying 400 sets of twins to determine if some men are genetically predisposed to being gay.

The study found that gay men shared genetic signatures on part of the X-chromosome – Xq28.

Dr Bailey told The Telegraph: “Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice.”

“Our findings suggest there may be genes at play – we found evidence for two sets that affect whether a man is gay or straight.

“But it is not completely determinative; there are certainly other environmental factors involved.

“Although this could one day lead to a pre-natal test for male sexual orientation, it would not be very accurate, as there are other factors that can influence the outcome.”

Dr Alan Sanders, associate Professor of Psychiatry at Northwestern University, who led the study said that it was it was an “oversimplification” to suggest there was a “gay gene”.

“We don’t think genetics is the whole story. It’s not. We have a gene that contributes to homosexuality but you could say it is linked to heterosexuality. It is the variation.”

No similar genes have been discovered which influence female homosexuality.

Dr Bailey said environmental factors were likely to have the biggest impact on homosexuality.

Meanwhile, more than 350 people attended a US conference on supporting people with same-sex attraction who want to live according to Catholic teaching, as well as those close to them.

The Courage/EnCourage Conference 2014 in Philadelphia last month had as its theme “Move beyond the confines of the homosexual label to a more complete identity in Christ”.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who celebrated the opening liturgy, spoke of the challenge of doing what is right even when we know it is difficult to do it.


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