Genetic and environmental influences on sexual orientation

Khytam Dawood*, J. Michael Bailey, Nicholas G. Martin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

25 Scopus citations


The primary focus of this chapter is to provide an overview of the evidence to date on the quantitative genetics of sexual orientation, including family and twin studies. The bulk of the available evidence suggests moderate heritability for male sexual orientation. Female sexual orientation has been studied much less extensively, but current studies are consistent with a genetic contribution for women as well (Kirk, Bailey, Dunne, & Martin, 2000; Pattatucci & Hamer, 1995). Familial aggregation has been reported in several family studies of both male and female homosexuality (Dawood & Bailey, 2000), although the genetic and environmental influences on this familial clustering have not been clearly defined by the largest twin studies published thus far, which have produced contradictory results. Recent molecular genetic studies will also be reviewed, including the two main strategies that have been used to date - linkage and association analysis. We will also discuss the implications of recent advances in molecular genetic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Behavior Genetics
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780387767277
ISBN (Print)9780387767260
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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