Is homosexuality something you are born with or is it a choice? The debate to seek an answer to this question has been going on since the 1980s. However, till date, no valid answer has surfaced to define the cause of homosexuality.
For those who don’t know, homosexuals are those set of people who are sexually attracted to one’s own sex. As far as facts are concerned, this form of sexual orientation is absolutely normal with 2-11% of human adults who report experiencing some homosexual feelings.
Over the last few years, studies and researches have been conducted to determine what exactly causes someone to become gay. While part of these studies suggest it's genetic, the other part contradicts it by stating that most identical twins of a gay couple are straight, putting the entire theory in question.
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1980s Theory Of Gay Genes
Researchers have been trying to establish a biological evidence for sexual orientation since the 1980s. The findings, back in those days, suggested the association between same-sex orientations in men and a specific chromosomal region. This finding led to the coining of the term ‘Gay Genes’, which became the crux of research for all the geneticists. However, the argument had never substantiated despite the fact that research showed that homosexuality is a heritable trait.
2014s Report On Homosexuality
The report released by the Academy of Science South Africa in 2014 was an outcome of work conducted by a panel to evaluate all the research on the subject of homosexuality done in the last 50 years. The evidence in the report pointed towards the fact that the existence of a complex interaction between genes and environment was responsible for the heritable nature of sexual orientation.
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To understand the nature of the evidence, new research was conducted on family and twin studies. The new findings showed that homosexuality is both a heritable and an environmental component. While studies on family revealed that homosexual men have more numbers of older brothers than heterosexual men, the studies on twins indicated that homosexuality is more common in identical twins than in non-identical ones, further proving that homosexuality can be inherited. However, the extent of inheritance between twins was lower than expected, leading to the innovation of a new concept called epigenetics.
What is Epigenetics?
Epigenetics related the influence of environmental factors on genes, either in the fetus or after birth. Although the field was developed to study gene expression, it became the central figure to determine whether it was the factor for homosexuality.
Every female is born with two X-Chromosomes one of which remains inactive while the other is fused with the XY-chromosomes of a man to deliver the two genders of babies. Now, the epigenetics hypothesis suggests that one develops a predisposition to homosexuality by inheriting epi-marks across generations. It further states that environmental factors like medicinal drugs, pesticides, and plasticizers among others may have an impact on DNA by creating epi-marks.
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These environmental factors can play a crucial role by interfering with a pregnant woman’s hormonal system, which will ultimately affect the levels of sex hormones in the growing fetus and may influence the activity of these hormones.
Looking From An Evolutionary Perspective
The same-sex relationships are said to stand against the ‘Darwinian Concept’ as is does not allow the continuation of humans, thereby endangering the species with extinction. Thus, many stand against the paradox. However, newer concepts also suggest that same-sex orientation will decrease and disappear with time, leaving behind the heterosexuals and animal kingdom to function as they naturally did.
What About The Future Studies?
The studies in future are now directed to understand the complex interactions between environment and genes as the basis for determining one’s sexual orientation.
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Although the findings until now does not imply that homosexuality is a disorder, nor does it imply that there is a mutation in the genes in the region that determines sexual orientation- heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual. However, it does suggest that there is a specific region on a chromosome that determines sexual orientation.
While science has no answer to the question 'Is Homosexuality something that is born with it or is it a choice', people all across the globe are opening up to the idea of accepting the status of the queer people as they are!
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