Not “Born That Way” After All

Huge Scientific Study Demolishes a Favorite Myth

Did you miss the news story about a huge scientific study published in the top journal Science on the relationship between genetics and homosexuality? In sum, the study found that genetic factors play an extremely minor role (less than 1%) in explaining same-sex behavior. In other words, there is no “gay gene.”

The study analyzed the entire genomes of thousands of individuals in a “genome-wide association study” (GWAS) to search for genetic links to homosexuality. They looked at individual DNA nucleotide differences in individuals—called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) —and tried to look for correlations of similar SNPs among people who self-identified as engaging in homosexual activity. But the paper found that the correlation between genetics and homosexuality was extremely small. The scientific study put it in this technical language:

In all cases, the variance explained by the polygenic scores was extremely low (<1%); these scores could not be used to accurately predict sexual behavior in an individual.[1]

What this means is that genetic factors explain less than 1% of homosexual behavior—a point which was made clear in an accompanying article in Science that explained that findings in plainer language:

[W]hen all of the SNPs they identified from the GWAS are considered together in a combined score, they explain less than 1%. Thus, although they did find particular genetic loci associated with same-sex behavior, when they combine the effects of these loci together into one comprehensive score, the effects are so small (under 1%) that this genetic score cannot in any way be used to predict same-sex sexual behavior of an individual.[2, emphasis added]

In other words, genetics explains “less than 1%” of same-sex behavior. Commenting on this study, the Wall Street Journal put it this way:

[W]hen the researchers pooled all of the identified markers to create a score for an individual person, the genetic variation explained less than 1%, making it practically impossible to predict a person’s sexual orientation or behavior based on his or her genome."[3]

Of course, this finding is extremely important because it represents a scientific study with the highest scientific credibility directly contradicting what sexual activists have been saying for so long—that homosexuality is entirely or even mostly genetically determined—i.e., that people are “born that way.” 

In fact, the journal Science admitted that in our culture, “There is an inclination to reduce sexuality to genetic determinism” because “Attributing same-sex orientation to genetics could enhance civil rights or reduce stigma.”[2] But despite this overwhelming trend and desire by homosexual activists, the media, and the mainstream elites to frame the causes of homosexuality in genetic terms, the genetic evidence shows this claim is simply not true.

References cited:
1. Ganna et al., “Large-scale GWAS reveals insights into the genetic architecture of same-sex sexual behavior,” Science, Vol. 365: 882 (August 30, 2019).
2. Melinda C. Mills, “How do genes affect same-sex behavior?," Science, Vol. 365: 869-870 (August 30, 2019).
3. Brianna Abbott, “Research Finds Genetic Links to Same-Sex Behavior,” Wall Street Journal (August 29, 2019).

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