While the mechanisms here aren#8217;t fully understood, the researchers explain the SLITRK gene family is important for neurodevelopment and could be of relevance for a range of behavioural phenotypes, not just sexual orientation.
To do so, Sanders#8217; team studied 1,077 homosexual men and 1,231 heterosexual men of primarily European ancestry, who were respectively recruited from community festivals and a nationwide survey.
#8220;The goal of this study was to search for genetic underpinnings of male sexual orientation, and thus ultimately increase our knowledge of biological mechanisms underlying sexual orientation.#8221;
There#8217;s also the relatively small size and skewed European basis of the sample – not to mention the fact that it#8217;s all men – which limit what it can tell us about genetic underpinnings to sexual orientation more broadly across race and sex lines.
When the researchers sifted through the data, they isolated several genetic regions where variations called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) signalled single-letter changes in the DNA, with two of the most prominent congregations located near chromosomes 13 and 14.
#8220;Understanding the origins of sexual orientation enables us to learn a great deal about sexual motivation, sexual identity, gender identity, and sex differences, and this and subsequent work may take us further down that path of discovery.#8221;
In terms of the new results, there#8217;s bound to be a lot of interest in the study, but the researchers are eager to emphasise their findings are largely speculative for now, since there#8217;s still a lot we don#8217;t know about what these genetic variations really mean.