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Tall Tales about the Mind and BrainSeparating fact from fiction$
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Sergio Della Sala

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198568773

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198568773.001.0001

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The elusive search for a ‘gay gene’

The elusive search for a ‘gay gene’

Chapter:
(p.461) Chapter 28 The elusive search for a ‘gay gene’
Source:
Tall Tales about the Mind and Brain
Author(s):

Fernando Saravi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198568773.003.0029

Science can tell how things are, but not how they ought to be. Nevertheless, scientific research is influenced by politics and by group interests and values, and this is indeed true about research on homosexuality, in particular on its origin. The two main views may be called the essentialist (inborn) and the constructionist/developmental. Essentialist hypotheses about the aetiology of homosexuality — largely addressing male homosexuality — understandably focus on brain development, since sexual orientation is a neuropsychological phenomenon. The main organic developmental hypotheses for which there is some evidence include those focusing on neuroendocrine mechanisms, on fraternal birth order and on genetics. As a whole, journalistic coverage of research on the aetiology of homosexuality has been plagued by misrepresentation. While the notion of a single ‘gay gene’ overwhelmingly driving same-sex attraction has been largely forsaken, exploration of more complex models is being actively pursued.

Keywords:   homosexuality, gay gene, genetics, sexual orientation

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