LGBTQIA+, Videos

Does Everybody Have a Gay Gene?

August 9, 2017 by Justin Lehmiller

Where does our sexual orientation come from? That’s a question that we don’t yet fully understand. However, a growing body of research suggests that it may be determined, at least in part, by our genetics.

Scientists have been searching for years for a so-called “gay gene,” and the results have been nothing short of fascinating. While several studies have found genetic markers that are correlated with homosexuality, other research points to an epigenetic origin. Epigenetics is the study of how environments can modify our genes–and, if you’re not familiar with this idea, it’s kind of a mind-blowing concept. To learn more about this research, check out the video below from our friends over at ASAP Science. They not only review the accumulated research on genetics and sexual orientation, but also some of the different theories on why homosexuality might have a genetic basis, as well as the broader social implications if we were to one day discover that there is indeed a gay gene.

With all of that said, my sense of this issue is that scientists aren’t ever going to find a single gay gene that explains all instances of homosexuality. I say this because of other research suggesting that there appear to be different “kinds” of homosexuality that are linked to different biological factors. Such findings would make the odds of a single genetic pathway pretty low.

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Image Source: 123RF/Monica Wisniewska

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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