Before anybody jumps to conclusions, these are not definitive findings. They are extremely important findings for those performing active research on the topic, but are not of general interest to those who are not performing research. The next steps will be to see if this holds in other cohorts, and in other populations, etc.
Wow, the bioethical implications of potentially identifying the mechanism of sexual orientation are staggering.
I wonder if / how long it will be before parents have the technical means—if not the legal right—to alter their child to be gay or straight through gene therapy. Or even simply selectively bring to term one orientation or the other.
"We detected several promising regions of multiple SNPs in the 10^−5 to 10^−7p-value range, as seen in the Manhattan plot (Fig. 1), though no SNP reached genome-wide significance (5 × 10^−8)."
I gave my saliva to 23andme two years ago. I’ve been suicidal my whole life. If genetic markers for suicidal tendencies are discovered in the future, can they use my stored sample to assist in such studies?
Would a bio expert be able to comment please on how this may fit with observations around increased likelihood of male homosexuality correlated to the number of older male siblings (to the same mother)?
So why is this a surprise? The experiments on identical and fraternal twins were done decades ago, and there just isn't any doubt that genes influence sexual orientation. Nor is there any possibility that they determine it: many gay men and lesbians have straight identical twins.
I suspect that as we come to better understand genetics, we (as a society) are going to be more and more uncomfortable with the findings that we uncover. Physics and mathematics have made it long since clear that the universe is deterministic, that all the answers lie in the genes and atoms and equations we are made up of. The implications of this are dire - our society is built on exactly the opposite foundations; law and order assumes the criminals are acting of free will, education assumes all students are equal, and societal success rests on the notion that all men are equal. None of this is true. All of the implications can be twisted to serve our worst, or our best instincts.
Some will take this study to mean Homosexuality is a disease, to be cured. Others will reject it, to say the science is not yet "in", the study needs replications, meta-studies are needed to verify and corroborate it. We should embrace it, and say that it is good we are not a monoculture, embrace mutation and variation. To be human is to be different.
My government will be ecstatic. More and more catholic church makes it to the ruling party. I imagine some other states (China?) would also want to tamper with its population genome.
So... what about bi/pansexuality?
First critique that immediately comes to mind is how the 1,077 homosexual men and 1,231 heterosexual men were selected. If Republicans have taught us anything, it's that self-reporting is not an accurate measure.
From the paper: "classified men as homosexual based on both their self-reported sexual identity and sexual feelings"
Furthermore, how does this study explain sexual fluidity? IE: I liked kissing boys when I was 13 but I married a woman at 25?
Imagine a hair test to check if someone is gay on the spot. That's kind of crazy
I wonder if these genes make women more promiscuous (ie more attracted to men)
(Yes, it was a plot from a TV show)
Wait ... I thought it was due to a choice people made? (obviously joking)