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Is Homosexuality Genetic?

             In a 1998 New York Times article titled "Report Suggests Homosexuality is Linked to Genes," Natalie Angier reviews a recent study that found some evidence that there is a gene that may cause homosexuality in males. The researchers have not isolated the gene. They have, however, determined an area of the X chromosome in which the gene would be located.
             The study reviewed was the result of work by Hamer, Hu, Hu, Magnuson and Pattatucci (1993). The Angier article focuses on Hamer's second study of homosexuality and genetics. Hamer and his colleagues studied 40 pairs of homosexual brothers to determine if they shared any common genetics. They found that 33 of the pairs shared identical pieces of the end of the X chromosome. The Angier article states that only half of the pairs should have this similar area by random chance, because the X chromosome genes can be passed on from the mother in two different forms. .
             The remainder of the article is focused on the potential negatives and positives that would occur if researchers were able to conclusively determine a gene that causes homosexuality. Some Gay Rights advocates fear that this, in combination with new advances in genetic modification, will lead to parents choosing to eliminate this gene from their children. Others believe that it will be used to "out" homosexuals in the attempt to study and potentially "cure" them. Others, however, took a more positive viewpoint, stating that it will help us to understand the origins of sexuality and may be able to boost support for Gay and Lesbian rights. .
             Angier concludes the article with a brief statement on the future difficulties that Dr. Hamer and others will have in trying to pinpoint the genes that would complete their research. She states that the region contains some four million bases, and it will be very difficult to determine which areas affect sexuality. Additionally studies done on lesbian sisters have not yielded similar results.

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