News of the WeekGenetics

Discovery of 'Gay Gene' Questioned

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Science  23 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5414, pp. 571
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5414.571

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Summary

Six years ago, molecular geneticist Dean Hamer and his colleagues announced that they had found a genetic link to male homosexuality--an as yet unidentified gene on the X chromosome (Science, 16 July 1993, p. 321). Now on page 665, a research team reports failing to find a link between male homosexuality and Xq28, the chromosomal segment implicated by Hamer's study. In addition, other unpublished work does not provide strong support for a linkage. The authors of the Science paper say that, taken together, the results suggest that if there is a linkage it's so weak that it's not important and that researchers should be looking elsewhere for the genes that contribute to homosexuality. Hamer disputes that contention, however.