General, Research, Technology

Do genes determine sexual orientation?

When it comes to genetic factors -and any, it’s very difficult to resist the so-called genetic determinism, according to which the presence of a particular gene determines your qualities, behavior, inclinations, etc. According to the hypothesis of this “genetic doom”, the presence of the gene responsible for the tendency to, for example, alcoholism, should make you an alcoholic. Agree, at least this can be argued. Nevertheless, genes do determine a person’s behavior - as, for example, in the case of a tendency to aggressive behavior - there really can not be done without that same gene. However, genes and when they get involved depends on the environment. And this is perhaps the most important thing we all need to remember - how a living creature behaves depends on two combined factors: genes and the environment. In simpler terms, genes are meaningless outside the context of the environment. But what, then, can be said of sexual behavior? What effect do genes have on our sexual preferences?

Genes contribute to the sexual orientation of not only Homo sapiens, but also other animals on Earth

Gene (from the Greek. genos - “genus”, “origin”) is a section of a DNA molecule, a hereditary factor that contains information about a particular trait or function of the body.

Sexual orientation - what you need to know?

According to Professor Robert Sapolsky,a neuroendocrinologist from Stanford University, people simply cannot resist the topic of genetics and sexuality. The topic of sexual orientation has always always interested scientists and not only them, but attempts to explain a person’s sexual behavior didn’t end with anything - both the introduction of the death penalty for choosing the “wrong” partner, and the lengthy imprisonment and stigmatization of people whose sexual orientation is not the same as "Necessary." If you think about it, then only a few aspects of human biology are as complex - or politically dangerous - as sexual orientation. But what does science say about this?

Genes determine the structure of a protein, its shape and function. For this reason, it may seem that once proteinsdo almost all the work in the body, then DNA is the holy grail of life. But in fact, this is not so, because genes “do not decide” which protein is needed in a given situation. But the environment - for example, the lack of food in the savannah - may well require the “inclusion” of the gene responsible for the endurance and accumulation of adipose tissue in primates (so as not to starve to death) and in humans.

In fact, a whole string of researchconfirms the presence of heritability of sexual orientation, however, to a certain extent. The most significant are the results of a study of twins - it turned out that about half of them have a sexual orientation. In very simple words - if you have a twin brother and he is gay, then with a probability of 50% you will also prefer men. But for blood brothers (not twins), the risk of matching sexual orientation is only 9%. This suggests that the more common genes you have with another person, the more likely your sexual orientation will be the same.

What do you think the role of genes inthe formation of sexual orientation of humans and animals? Join the discussion of this topic in our Telegram chat, and also share the answer in the comments to this article

From the point of view of genes, the propensity for same-sex relationships is justified

However despite being ingrained in societythe idea that one or more genes make a person prone to certain sexual behaviors, the results of recent scientific research refute this. An analysis in which the genome of almost half a million men and women was studied showed that, although genetics is involved in the way people prefer to have sex, there are no specific genetic markers responsible for this behavior. However, researchers are wondering: can an analysis that examined genes related to sexual activity, rather than attraction, help to draw any real conclusions about the sexual orientation of Homo Sapiens.

By the way homosexual behavior described in 450 species of animals. However, despite the fact that many animals practice same-sex relationships, this does not mean that they have any specific sexual orientation.

Is sexuality predetermined?

As the researchers write in their work,published in the journal Science, sexual behavior is a complex behavior in which genetics definitely play a role, but it is not the main one. It should also be borne in mind that genetic research conducted over the past few decades has involved several hundred people - and mostly men. Other studies have linked sexual orientation to environmental factors such as hormones before birth and older brothers.

Read even more fascinating articles about human and animal behavior on our channel in Yandex.Zen

The biology of human behavior is an incredibly complex topic to study.

In some primacy populations, for example, among female Japanese macaques, homosexual behavior is the norm.

However, experts welcome the receivedin the course of the study, data, so a huge number of people in the world want to understand the biology of homosexuality. In the past, this topic was banned, and today, finally, it flourishes. One way or another, despite the loud headlines in the media that the gene for sexual orientation does not exist, this work will not be the last in search of an answer to all questions about the sexual orientation of a person. It is possible that the data from the new study are an analysis of risky behavior or openness to new experience, as subjects who had at least one same-sex experience were more likely to report pain in the number of sexual partners and smoking marijuana and alcohol consumption.

According to Scientific American, the authors of the study believe that they were able to see the connection between sexual orientation and sexual activity, but they assume that genes do not predict orientation. Given the complexity of this rather delicatetopics, there are many questions which factors influence sexual orientation and why. This means that in the future there will be even more scientific research. Will wait.

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