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December 1991

A Genetic Study of Male Sexual Orientation

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill (Dr Bailey); and the Family Studies Laboratory, Division of Psychiatry, Boston (Mass) University School of Medicine (Dr Pillard).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1991;48(12):1089-1096. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1991.01810360053008

• Homosexual male probands with monozygotic cotwins, dizygotic cotwins, or adoptive brothers were recruited using homophile publications. Sexual orientation of relatives was assessed either by asking relatives directly, or when this was impossible, asking the probands. Of the relatives whose sexual orientation could be rated, 52% (29/56) of monozygotic cotwins, 22% (12/54) of dizygotic cotwins, and 11% (6/57) of adoptive brothers were homosexual. Heritabilities were substantial under a wide range of assumptions about the population base rate of homosexuality and ascertainment bias. However, the rate of homosexuality among nontwin biological siblings, as reported by probands, 9.2% (13/142), was significantly lower than would be predicted by a simple genetic hypothesis and other published reports. A proband's self-reported history of childhood gender nonconformity did not predict homosexuality in relatives in any of the three subsamples. Thus, childhood gender nonconformity does not appear to be an indicator of genetic loading for homosexuality. Cotwins from concordant monozygotic pairs were very similar for childhood gender nonconformity.

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