That Darn Elusive Gay Gene
Samantha comes out to her parents and says, “This is just who I am.”
The underlying message is that biology drives sexuality. The gay person is telling it from the heart. Even so, in the science world the heart is not scientific proof of any biological link.
The heart is a powerful tool regardless. A gay person knows deep down what’s true. They do not need to look at genetic results from blood samples to learn there may be a biological link. They already know that.
No gay person was ever asked as a child if he or she wanted to be gay. A gay person can’t think back to when they first decided to be gay, they however can think back to when they first became aware of same-sex attractions.
In other words, we can gather from anecdotal evidence that something biological is happening in gay people.
That darn elusive gay gene that determines sexuality has yet to be found though. This is not from a want of trying. The scientific community has examined the link between sexuality and biology quite diligently. They’ve considered genes, brain makeup, prenatal care, and chemistry and looked mostly at males. Their findings? They have found no one hundred percent connection.
Scientists have concluded that biology is certainly a part of the journey in eventually identifying as gay or along that wide-spectrum of gay.
If you took a person identifying as gay, who also had an identical twin, then wouldn’t you expect to find a gay twin too?
Let’s examine the premise of identical twins before we answer this question.
Identical twins come from the same sperm and egg. Early in development the embryo divides in half creating two babies.
On the other hand, fraternal twins are formed from two different sperm and two different eggs.
Returning to the original question, if one identical twin identifies as gay, and if they’re identical, how would you expect the other twin to identify?
You’d expect the identical twin to be waving his rainbow flag and proudly saying-“I’m gay folks.”
But this is not the case.
Research demonstrates that identical twin studies do not show a 100% ratio between one twin identifying as gay and another identifying the same.
Researchers have found that 52% of homosexual males who have identical twin brothers also have a brother who’s gay. Among fraternal twins, researchers have found the ratio to be 22%.
Over the last couple of years, researchers have come up with new data regarding the relationship between genetic makeup and homosexuality. There is a link.
Scientists state that gay men share a genetic make-up, but it accounts for only 40 percent chance of a man being homosexual.
This is based on research done at the Northwestern University where 400 sets of twins were examined. This is noted as one of the largest studies completed to date regarding the link between homosexuality and genetics.
The researchers did not find a specific homosexual gene, but they did find specific markers on a chromosome.
Their research demonstrated the existence of genes on pericentromeric chromosome 8 and chromosome Xq28 which they say influences development of male sexual orientation.
The lead author, Dr. Alan Sanders, said of his study, “It is not proof but it’s a pretty good indication” that genes on the two chromosomes have some influence over sexual orientation.
Dr. Michael Bailey, another researcher on the study, said, “Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice. Our findings suggest genes may be at play.”
Dr. Sanders added to his colleague’s comment, “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.”
One reason there may be variations among identical twin studies is that identical twins are actually not identical.
That’s right, recent scientific evidence concludes identical twins are not identical in terms of DNA. If you are a person who learned in school that identical twins share 100% DNA with their twin then you’re not alone.
Researchers have been working on this presumption for years.
In fact, many scientists have based conclusions on this very premise.
In an article titled, Identical twin studies prove homosexuality is not genetic, the researcher conducted an identical twin study and he prefaced his research with these statements:
1. Identical twins have the same genes or DNA. They are nurtured in equal prenatal conditions. If homosexuality is caused by genetics or prenatal conditions and one twin is gay, the co-twin should also be gay.
2. Because they (identical twins) have identical DNA, [sexual orientation] ought to be 100%. But the studies reveal something else…
Not true. Oopsies, take backsies?
He, after all, based his statements on what most of his colleagues presumed to be fact. This study was carried out prior to the research that has concluded identical twins are not genetically identical.
In fact, historically, there are numerous studies that have concluded that certain disorders or conditions lack a genetic-origin and have based their findings on the presumption that identical twins are genetically one hundred percent identical.
In fact, not too long ago, you could have Googled identical twins and found a reliable source which stated that identical twins were 100% genetically alike.
It turns out though that no two humans are alike-including identical twins.
They closely compared the genomes of nineteen sets of adult identical twins. The conclusion of their study was startling to say the least. Identical twins share large portion of genetic DNA, but they are not genetically identical.
We may never find that elusive gay gene but we can rest assure that being gay is not a wholly learned identity. It is partially biological driven. When your son, brother, sister, daughter says, “I’m gay. This is who I am.”
Nod your head and simply say, “Ok.” They are speaking a truth from the heart.
Above all, remember this, the one thing that is one hundred percent learned is prejudicial attitudes-like for example…homophobia.
Bryce Bentley Summers is a psychologist who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Houston. He’s presently employed at the Dallas Veteran Affairs Medical Center.
Bryce founded the concept of the Queer Sense Ecological Model. Click here to learn more about Queer Sense.
Bryce is also the author of the Young Adult Dark Fantasy (Sci-Fi) series AMEN to ROT, a story that pits young people against a sinister force, but also takes a look at learning what your capable of accomplishing when facing impossible challenges. The novel Nyte God will conclude this series and will be available in 2015.
Be on the look out for a ROTVILLE, a Sci-Fi Thriller (Horror) that will be published by DAMNATION BOOKS and be available in 2015. A story about an experiment gone awry, they wanted to create the perfect soldier, but instead, a hero was born…
Also be on the look for FRESH MEAT, a Paranormal (Horror with Multicultural & Gay Themes) and is about a sociopathic’s inner journey from evil to salvation.