Capital Pride Parade in Washington, DC on 6/9/18. Photo Credit: Ted Eytan
Capital Pride Parade in Washington, DC on 6/9/18. Photo Credit: Ted Eytan (CC-By-SA 2.0)

WASHINGTON – A study conducted by scientists from Harvard and MIT once again refutes the “born that way” reason for homosexuality. This massive study of nearly half a million people sought to determine if genetic factors contribute to same-sex sexual behavior.

The research was recently published in Science, a journal for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is the largest study ever conducted on this subject. While previous studies have not been as large, these prior studies have also concluded that there is no genetic cause of same-sex attraction.

Andrea Ganna is lead author and European Molecular Biology Laboratory group leader at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland and instructor at Massachusetts General and Harvard. Ganna led an international team of scientists who examined data from 477,522 people in the United States and the United Kingdom to see whether certain DNA genetic markers were linked to their sexual behavior.

Specifically, the researchers conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on 408,995 individuals in the UK Biobank, a British health resource, and 68,527 Americans from the private genomics company 23andMe—all of whom remained anonymous and consented to the study which included their DNA data and responses to questions about sexual behaviors, sexual attraction and sexual identity. More than 26,000 participants reported at least one sexual encounter with someone of the same sex. Researchers in this study identified five specific genetic variants that were found to be “associated” with (not “the cause of”) same-sex behavior. Altogether they accounted for less than one percent of homosexual behavior.

“There is no gay gene that determines whether someone has same-sex partners,” said Ganna.

David Curtis, honorary professor at the UCL Genetics Institute at the University College London, said “This study clearly shows that there is no such thing as a ‘gay gene.’ There is no genetic variant in the population which has any substantial effect on sexual orientation.”

Ben Neale, an associate professor in the Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, said, “There is no single gay gene, and a genetic test for if you’re going to have a same-sex relationship is not going to work. It’s effectively impossible to predict an individual’s sexual behavior from their genome.”

Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman Mat Staver responded to the news.

“This new study confirms prior studies that show there is no genetic cause of same-sex attraction. It is unscientific to argue that someone is ‘born that way’ when referring to homosexuality. All the more reason why people should have the right to seek counsel to overcome unwanted same-sex attraction, behavior, or gender confusion,” he said.

3 comments
  1. Whether because of genetics or hormonal factors in the womb, I’m 100% certain that I was born Gay. I was raised in a fairly ordinary, middle-class suburban Catholic family. I am the eldest of four children. My parents raised us with a good set of values, and we have all turned out pretty well. I was never molested or sexually traumatized in any way. And YET, for some reason unbeknownst to me, I’m just as queer as a three dollar bill. My younger siblings are all Straight, but for some reason I’m Gay. Go figure.

    We all have choices to make in how we conduct our personal lives, but sexual orientation is innate. Why would anyone choose to be Gay? Historically being Gay has been fraught with peril. In many ways it still is.

    1. You can be 100% certain, but there’s still no scientific evidence pointing to this. As far as why? Well, we all have a sin nature. I can say with 100% certainty you were born with that as was I.

  2. I think it is very important to note what this study also concluded. It *did* conclude there is not a single gay gene. The researchers also went on to say, “although variations in these genes cannot predict whether a person is gay, these variants may partly influence sexual behavior.”

    Please let the full study speak.

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