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Science. 2019 Aug 30;365(6456). pii: eaat7693. doi: 10.1126/science.aat7693.

Large-scale GWAS reveals insights into the genetic architecture of same-sex sexual behavior.

Author information

1
Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit, Center for Genomic Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
2
Program in Medical and Population Genetics, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.
3
Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.
4
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Amsterdam University Medical Centers (UMC), location AMC, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 5, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, Netherlands.
6
Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
7
Department of Sociology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
8
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
9
Department of Sociology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0483, USA.
10
Health and Society Program and Population Program, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0483, USA.
11
Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0483, USA.
12
Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge, UK.
13
Department of Growth and Reproduction, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
14
International Center for Research and Research Training in Endocrine Disruption of Male Reproduction and Child Health (EDMaRC), Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
15
Department of Human Genetics, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33136, USA.
16
23andMe, Mountain View, CA 94041, USA.
17
Centre for Ethics, Law and Mental Health, Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
18
Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, USA.
19
Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.
20
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute, Evanston, IL 60201, USA.
21
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
22
Centre for Psychology and Evolution, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia. zietsch@psy.uq.edu.au.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

Twin and family studies have shown that same-sex sexual behavior is partly genetically influenced, but previous searches for specific genes involved have been underpowered. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on 477,522 individuals, revealing five loci significantly associated with same-sex sexual behavior. In aggregate, all tested genetic variants accounted for 8 to 25% of variation in same-sex sexual behavior, only partially overlapped between males and females, and do not allow meaningful prediction of an individual's sexual behavior. Comparing these GWAS results with those for the proportion of same-sex to total number of sexual partners among nonheterosexuals suggests that there is no single continuum from opposite-sex to same-sex sexual behavior. Overall, our findings provide insights into the genetics underlying same-sex sexual behavior and underscore the complexity of sexuality.

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PMID:
31467194
DOI:
10.1126/science.aat7693

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