Shhh … sexuality is complicated, ctd

The Washington Post takes-up the recently released Science study, with more coverage of the science than the New York Times, and less of the controversy surrounding publication of the study.

There is no one gene that determines a person’s sexual orientation, but genetics — along with environment — play a part in shaping sexuality, a massive new study shows.

Researchers analyzed DNA from hundreds of thousands of people and found that there are a handful of genes clearly connected with same-sex sexual behavior. The researchers say that, although variations in these genes cannot predict whether a person is gay, these variants may partly influence sexual behavior.

Though I sympathize with the reservations that some of the researchers felt about publication, I think that Science made the right editorial decision. The New York Times and the Washington Post are among the most influential newspapers in the world and their coverage, though necessarily not-very-detailed if it is to be comprehended by the generality of readers, will inevitably help to publicize the complexity of sexuality and its innate characteristic.

I am a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Science is one of the (paywalled) member benefits; it will doubtless show up in the mail in the next day or so. I’ll try to share more of the conclusions here after it has arrived and I’ve had some time to digest it.

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