Homosexual female probands with monozygotic cotwins, dizygotic cotwins, or adoptive sisters were recruited using homophile publications. Sexual orientation of relatives was assessed either by asking relatives directly, or, when this was impossible, by asking the probands. Of the relatives whose sexual orientation could be confidently rated, 34 (48%) of 71 monozygotic cotwins, six (16%) of 37 dizygotic cotwins, and two (6%) of 35 adoptive sisters were homosexual. Probands also reported 10 (14%) nontwin biologic sisters to be homosexual, although those sisters were not contacted to confirm their orientations. Heritabilities were significant using a wide range of assumptions about both the base rate of homosexuality in the population and ascertainment bias. The likelihood that a monozygotic cotwin would also be homosexual was unrelated to measured characteristics of the proband such as self-reported history of childhood gender nonconformity. Concordant monozygotic twins reported similar levels of childhood gender nonconformity.
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"In the 1980s, researchers began to apply the techniques of behavioral genetics to investigate the potential heritability of homosexuality (Pillard et al. 1981). These studies, which preserved psychiatry's binary definition of homosexual and heterosexual phenotypes, found evidence of heritability in both men (Bailey and Pillard 1991) and women (Bailey et al. 1993). In the 1990s, neuroscientific and genetic researchers claimed to identify specific biological bases of homosexual behavior. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Both advocacy for and critiques of the Human Genome Project assume a self-sustaining relationship between genetics and medicalization. However, this assumption ignores the ways in which the meanings of genetic research are conditional on its position in sequences of events. Based on analyses of three conditions for which at least one putative gene or genetic marker has been identified, this article argues that critical junctures in the institutional stabilization of phenotypes and the mechanisms that sustain such classifications over time configure the practices and meanings of genetic research. Path dependence is critical to understanding the lack of consistent fit between genetics and medicalization.
American Journal of Sociology 02/2008; 114 Suppl(S1):S287-316. DOI:10.1086/595570 · 3.17 Impact Factor
"(White female, 38 years old, bachelor's degree) • I feel that we all have some control over our destiny and our urges and our instincts–that they can be controlled. (White male, 79 years old, bachelor's degree) These statements indicate that, in accordance with others' views (e.g., Brookey, 2001; Byne & Stein, 1997; Greenberg & Bailey, 1993; Nardi, 1993), ascribing a genetic basis to homosexuality will not necessarily increase favorable attitudes towards gays and lesbians, because for some individuals " genetic " does not necessarily mean " uncontrollable . " As others (e.g., Byne & Stein, 1997; Weinrich, 1995) point out, there are different models of biological causation, so that genes can be seen as having a direct impact on the development of homosexuality or an indirect impact, with environmental and personality factors moderating biology's influence. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Homosexuality is viewed by many as a social problem. As such, there is a keen interest in elucidating the origins of homosexuality among many scholars, from anthropologists to zoologists, from psychologists to theologians. Research has shown that those who believe sexual orientation is inborn are more likely to have tolerant attitudes toward gay men and lesbians, whereas those who believe it is a choice have less tolerant attitudes. The current qualitative study used in-depth, open-ended telephone interviews with 42 White and 44 Black Americans to gain insight into the public's beliefs about the possible genetic origins of homosexuality. Along with etiological beliefs (and the sources of information used to develop these beliefs), we asked respondents to describe the benefits and dangers of scientists discovering the possible genetic basis for homosexuality. We found that although limited understanding and biased perspectives likely led to simplistic reasoning concerning the origins and genetic basis of homosexuality, many individuals appreciated the complex and interactive etiological perspectives. These interactive perspectives often included recognition of some type of inherent aspect, such as a genetic factor(s), that served as an underlying predisposition that would be manifested after being influenced by other factors such as choice or environmental exposures. We also found that beliefs in a genetic basis for homosexuality could be used to support very diverse opinions including those in accordance with negative eugenic agendas.
Journal of Homosexuality 02/2007; 52(3-4):111-50. DOI:10.1300/J082v52n03_06