Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Sex

Font Size

Is There a 'Gay Gene'?

New Genetic Regions Associated With Male Sexual Orientation Found

Search for Gay Genes

In the study, researchers analyzed the genetic makeup of 456 men from 146 families with two or more gay brothers.

The genetic scans showed a clustering of the same genetic pattern among the gay men on three chromosomes -- chromosomes 7, 8, and 10. These common genetic patterns were shared by 60% of the gay men in the study. This is slightly more than the 50% expected by chance alone.

The regions on chromosome 7 and 8 were associated with male sexual orientation regardless of whether the man got them from his mother or father. The regions on chromosome 10 were only associated with male sexual orientation if they were inherited from the mother.

Mustanski compares the study's approach to a search for doctors in a town of 40,000 people, a number that roughly corresponds to the number of human genes.

Rather than guessing that doctors live in a particular type of house and going to only the houses that meet that criteria, researchers in this scenario would knock on every door to ask the residents if a doctor lives on their street. Using a similar approach, researchers were able to locate a few potential genetic neighborhoods that likely contribute to male sexual orientation.

Researchers say the next step is to verify these results in a different group of men to see if the same genetic regions are associated with sexual orientation. If the findings hold up, then Mustanski says they could start to look for the individual genes within these regions linked to sexual orientation.

New Targets for Gay Gene Research

Elliot S. Gershon, MD, professor of psychiatry and human genetics at the University of Chicago, says the study represents an important step forward in understanding how genes affect human sexual orientation.

"It is worth testing genes within a region of linkage to see if one of them has a variant that is more frequent in men who are gay than in men who are not," says Gershon, who is also currently involved in another study of gay brothers and genetic influences on sexual orientation.

"This report adds to the legitimacy of research on normal variations in human behavior," Gershon tells WebMD. "There is an argument that has been made in public press that it doesn't make sense to study conditions or traits that are behavioral. But this suggests that there is a genetic contribution to this particular trait of same sex orientation."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

couple not communicating
How to tell when you're in one.
couple face to face
Get your love life back on track.
couple having an argument
Turn spats into solutions
couple in argument
When to call it quits.
Life Cycle of a Penis
HIV Myth Facts
How Healthy is Your Sex Life
Couple in bed
6 Tips For Teens
Close-up of young man
screening tests for men
HPV Vaccine Future