DNA Outline

Homosexual genes not found comment genetic experts, following a report in Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-15736-4 published online 7 December 2017 claiming to have found a “genome-wide significant association” to male sexual orientation. The “No” experts commented in The Scientist and the Science Media Centre 7 December 2017.

The study involved scanning genomes of 1,077 homosexual men and 1,231 heterosexual men, looking for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), i.e. places where individual DNA letters are different. They found two places where they claim significant differences were found. As summarised by The Scientist, one was “a section of chromosome 13 near the gene SLITRK6, which is primarily expressed in a brain region called the diencephalon that has previously been found to vary in structure between gay and straight men”. The other was “a section of chromosome 14 near the gene for thyroid stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR), which coincides with reports that have linked homosexuality with atypical thyroid function”.

Other researchers in genetics and statistics are not impressed.

Dr Jeffrey Barrett, Director of ‘Open Targets’ at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said: “This study is way, way, way too small to draw any meaningful conclusion. None of their findings meets the accepted thresholds for statistical significance in a genome-wide association study (which is why it is published in Scientific Reports). The comments about SLITRK6 and TSHR are utter speculation, and don’t belong anywhere near a modern genetic study – we had decades of such claims that never held up because they didn’t meet statistical significance”. (Item in brackets in original).

Prof. Gil McVean FRS FMedSci, Professor of Statistical Genetics at the University of Oxford, said: “The researchers have found weak evidence for genetic variation that influences self-reported sexual preferences in men. However, the sample size is small, the results have not been replicated in an independent study and the level of evidence presented doesn’t meet the threshold of significance typically required within the field. The press release is appropriate, but I don’t think the work would have been published if it were on a less controversial topic”. McVean went on to say “The specific biological hypothesis put forward in this paper does not have anything more than highly tenuous / circumstantial evidence”.

Prof. Robin Lovell-Badge FMedSci FRS, Group Leader at The Francis Crick Institute, points out “correlation does not mean causation. (The increase in value of my flat correlates with my increase in age – but I doubt that there is any causal relationship.)” (Item in brackets in original).

Science Media Centre, The Scientist

Editorial Comment:  We couldn’t say it any better than the experts quoted above, especially the comment about correlation not meaning causation. To prove that one or more genes cause homosexuality, scientists would first have to identify specific genes, not just regions on chromosomes, then find out the precise function of those genes, and then explain how that function forces people to be sexually attracted to the same sex. Then, to show it has any relevance, they would also need to study a statistically much larger male group. Until they do this no-one can seriously claim they are genetically bound to be homosexual.

Now to give the God’s Eye View: The Creator who made human beings made them male and female, and created marriage as one man and one woman for life, (Genesis1:26, 2:24, and Matthew 19:4-6). After sin came into the world God declared homosexuality to be sin, but like all sins, it can be forgiven and removed because the Creator who made all people also came to earth to die for our sins, and rise from the dead to give new life to all who repent of their sin and put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is not the first claim of finding a genetic basis for homosexuality that has proved popular but fictional. See the questions:

Have scientists now discovered a gene for homosexuality? Diane Eager’s answer here.

You claim they are not born that way. What evidence do you have? John Mackay’s answer here.

Also, see the DVDs Are you Born Homosexual? and Sodomy and Gomorrah. Both available as DVD or MP4 from the Creation Research webshop here.

Evidence News vol. 17 No. 21
13 December 2017
Creation Research Australia

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