Intended for healthcare professionals


The search for the gay gene

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 28 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1033
  1. Timothy F Murphy (, professor of philosophy in the biomedical sciences
  1. department of medical education, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago

    Another study from Dean Hamer's laboratory at the US National Institutes of Health indicates that genes may influence homosexuality in males (Human Genetics 2005;116: 272-8). The study involved a complete genome scan, the first ever conducted for the study of sexual orientation. Like the others before it, this study is far from conclusive, but it adds to the growing sense that genes play a role in male sexual orientation. The evidence for a genetic contribution to female homosexuality is less well developed, but the case is hardly closed. Social opinion in the back-ground of this research remains divided about its meaning and value.

    Some commentators worry that finding genetic aspects to sexual orientation will make things worse for gay men and women around the world. They worry that people will be tested against their will and that clinicians will even test embryos and fetuses. Reacting to the latest genetic study, one Maine legislator proposed an …

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