Many wonder if scientific research has discovered a gay gene. Homosexuality is defined as sexual relations between like genders (i.e., two males or two females). Is it inborn or learned? Some individuals believed that the answer would be found a midst the chromosomes analyzed in the Human Genome Project.
On April 14, 2003, the International Human Genome Consortium announced the successful completion of the Human Genome Project. The press report read: “The human genome is complete and the Human Genome Project is over” (“Human Genome Report…,” 2003, emp. added). Most of the major science journals reported on the progress in the field of genetics. The one piece of information that never materialized from the Human Genome Project was the identification of the so-called gay gene.
The human X and Y chromosomes (the two “sex” chromosomes) have been completely sequenced. Labs all across the globe, have undergone this huge project. It was found that the X chromosome contains 153 million base pairs, and harbors a total of 1168 genes (NCBI, 2004). The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that the Y chromosome—which is much smaller—contains “only” 50 million base pairs, and is estimated to contain a mere 251 genes.
Baylor University, the Max Planck Institute, the Sanger Institute, Washington University in St. Louis, and others have spent many hours of research and millions of dollars analyzing these unique chromosomes. The data allowed scientists to construct gene maps—using actual sequences from the Human Genome Project. Interestingly, neither the map for the X nor the Y chromosome contains any gay gene.
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