May 30, 2024

The latest news about the ‘gay gene’

Nearly every week, it seems, you read about the discovery of a new gene explaining inexplicable behaviour — internet addiction, obesity, voting conservative, voting liberal, infidelity, divorce, chocaholism, alcoholism, whatever.

I recall that a few years ago a New York judge even handed down a harsher-than-usual sentence because a defendant had a gene for viewing child pornography. The fact that the gene had not been discovered did not deter him. Someday it would be.

In short, the notion of genetic determinism seems to have a full nelson on the American imagination. So it comes as no surprise that homosexuality is believed, from North to South, and East to West, to be genetically determined. The most influential voice on this score is probably Lady Gaga, whose mega-hit “Born This Way” has been viewed about 300 million times on YouTube.

Fortunately or unfortunately, it’s looking like Lady Gaga was wrong. Researchers at MIT and Harvard’s Broad Institute have found that “it is impossible to meaningfully predict an individual’s same-sex sexual behavior from genetics”. If this study holds up, it is bound to shift the goal posts in the debate over homosexuality. Read about it below and post your comments.

Michael Cook
Not what Lady Gaga has been telling us