It was July 1993. American geneticist Dean Hamer shocked the world when he released a study that suggested the existence of a “gay gene.” The gene, Hamer said, was on the X chromosome and passed on by the mother.
Hamer’s findings were controversial because they offered scientific evidence that (gasp!) being gay wasn’t a choice.
In the 20 years since the release of that groundbreaking study, others have been conducted that offer contradictory results. Bible thumpers and homophobes alike have often either denied Hamer’s research or mocked it. In 2011, Ann Coulter charmingly said, “As soon as they find the gay gene, guess who the liberal yuppies are gonna start aborting?”
Now, the Washington Post reports new research finds that, despite what some naysayers would like to believe, Dean Hamer was right all along. A gay gene does exist. In fact, there are two of them. Maybe — in fact, probably — even more than two.
Researchers at the Human Genome Project, an international scientific research group that examines human DNA, conducted a study on several pairs of gay brothers.
“Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice,” Michael Bailey of Northwestern University, who carried out the research, said. “Our findings suggest there may be genes at play, and we found evidence for two sets that affect whether a man is gay or straight.”
The study drew blood from 409 gay brothers and their heterosexual family members. Analysis confirmed that an area on the X chromosome does, indeed, have some impact on sexual orientation. It also confirmed another stretch of DNA on chromosome 8, which affects male sexual behavior.
“It is not completely determinative,” Bailey said. “There are certainly other environmental factors involved.”
Unfortunately for Ann Coulter’s imagined would-be parents thinking about aborting their gay fetuses, prenatal “gay gene” testing is currently not available and likely never will be.
“Although this could one day lead to a prenatal test for male sexual orientation, it would not be very accurate, as there are other factors that can influence the outcome,” Bailey said.
Qazi Rhaman, a psychologist at King’s College in London, told the UK Daily Mail that genes only account for about 40 percent of a person’s sexual orientation, and that there are likely many more genes involved than just the two that have been discovered so far. This would make developing a prenatal genetic test incredibly difficult, if not impossible.
“There is no real risk of anyone finding a ‘genetic test’ for sexual orientation based on these or any of the scientific findings about the genetics of sexuality from the past 20 years,” Rhaman said. “The reason is that there is no [single] gay gene. You are not going to be able to develop a test to find them all.”
Homophobic would-be parents are very unnerved by this crushing scientific development, with one woman having a meltdown in the middle of the street, crying: