Recent Developments In Research On The Genetics Of Human Sexual Orientation

1532 words - 7 pages

Intro Sample...

Human sexual orientation has been a controversy with a high tendency for debate. Lesbians, gays, supporters, and their friends are in a heated dispute about the origins of sexual orientation. There are many possibilities, spanning from personal lifestyle choices, environmental factors, to genetic heredity.

In the past few years it has become increasingly popular to examine homosexuals, in hopes of determining the basis for a lifestyle involving same sex relationships. Henry Havelock Ellis first addressed inquiries on the basis of homosexuality over a century ago. Ellis stated that people engaging in sexual practices deviating from the regular format should be accepted by society, and laws... View More »

Body Sample...

Much more detailed looks at shared environmental factors take place in this study, including mental health history, HIV status, and alcohol and substance abuse (Hamer,Hu,Magnuson&Pattatucci, 1993).

At the end of each strand of male DNA there is a specific X-chromosome that is obtained from the mother of the individual and a Y-chromosome which comes only from the father. While looking at the similarities between father, son, and homosexuality, it was determined by the team that if homosexuality was a specific genetic trait, it most probably was passed through the mother of the subject. This in turn determines that if the X-chromosome is responsible for passing the trait of homosexuality then related gay men should have a specific gene or chromosome marker which indicates their sexual orientation (Hamer,Hu,Magnuson,&Pattatucci, 1993).

Hamer and colleagues performed an X-chromosome linkage on several pairs of homosexual brothers. The reason for using brothers is the obvious relationship of each individual DNA structure, and the ability to recognize even slight differences on each genome. Mistakes in comparing genotypes of brothers are uncommon. The mothers and siblings, if any were available, also had DNA samples prepped for examination, to view similarities of markers that run up and down the X-chromosome. Again to narrow the search for the specific gene, only the brothers who had the same X allele from their mothers (which was the majority) were continually looked at (Hamer,Hu,Magnuson,&Pattatucci, 1993).

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