Research Articles

A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation

Science  16 Jul 1993:
Vol. 261, Issue 5119, pp. 321-327
DOI: 10.1126/science.8332896


The role of genetics in male sexual orientation was investigated by pedigree and linkage analyses on 114 families of homosexual men. Increased rates of same-sex orientation were found in the maternal uncles and male cousins of these subjects, but not in their fathers or paternal relatives, suggesting the possibility of sex-linked transmission in a portion of the population. DNA linkage analysis of a selected group of 40 families in which there were two gay brothers and no indication of nonmaternal transmission revealed a correlation between homosexual orientation and the inheritance of polymorphic markers on the X chromosome in approximately 64 percent of the sib-pairs tested. The linkage to markers on Xq28, the subtelomeric region of the long arm of the sex chromosome, had a multipoint lod score of 4.0 (P = 10(-5), indicating a statistical confidence level of more than 99 percent that at least one subtype of male sexual orientation is genetically influenced.

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