The reasons behind why people are gay, straight or bisexual have long been a source of public fascination. Indeed, research on the topic of sexual orientation offers a powerful window into understanding human sexuality. Among the indigenous Zapotec people in southern Mexico, individuals who are biologically male and sexually attracted to men are known as muxes. They are recognized as a third gender: Muxe nguiiu tend to be masculine in their appearance and behavior; muxe gunaa are feminine. In Western cultures, they would be considered gay men and transgender women, respectively. Several correlates of male androphilia—sexual attraction of biological males to men—have been shown across different cultures, which is suggestive of a common biological foundation among them. For example, the fraternal birth order effect—the phenomenon whereby male androphilia is predicted by having a higher number of biological older brothers—is evident in both Western and Samoan cultures.
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Sexual Arousal Patterns of Identical Twins with Discordant Sexual Orientations
Sexual Arousal Patterns of Identical Twins with Discordant Sexual Orientations | Scientific Reports
Do genes make people gay? If you put this question to Google, you'll find thousands of pages of Internet commentary on it, posted on the websites of fundamentalist Christian ministries, science blogs, and major newspapers. The reason why this question attracts so much attention is no mystery: Despite real progress on LGBT rights in recent decades, large numbers of people, both in the United States and around the world, still see homosexuality as wrong. But if being gay is inborn, rather than a choice, moral arguments against same-sex relationships become more complicated, because it's harder to condemn people for something that is beyond their control. It's therefore not surprising that the science of sexual orientation often winds up in the middle of moral and political arguments over LGBT rights. In part because of the longstanding controversies over same-sex relationships, the genetics of sexual orientation has been somewhat neglected compared to other human traits.
Homosexual orientation in twins: a report on 61 pairs and three triplet sets.
But experts say the origins of partner preference remain a mystery. For men, new research suggests that clues to sexual orientation may lie not just in the genes, but in the spaces between the DNA, where molecular marks instruct genes when to turn on and off and how strongly to express themselves. That news, presented at the meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics on Thursday, may leave the genetically uninitiated scratching their heads. Through the epigenome, the results suggest, some facet of life experience likely also primes a man for same-sex attraction. But they increasingly suspect it is forged, in part, by the stresses and demands of external influences.
Sarah Nunn and Rosie Ablewhite are two, normal 29 year-old women, but they also happen to now be a researcher's dream. They are identical twins, meaning their genes are, well, identical, and they were brought up together. This means that the circumstance for both their 'nature' the nature of their genetic make-up and their 'nurture' the environment in which they were brought up, including any extraneous factors that don't relate to their genes are pretty much exactly the same.