Genome-Wide Linkage and Association Study of Childhood Gender Nonconformity in Males

Alan R. Sanders*, Gary W. Beecham, Shengru Guo, Khytam Dawood, Gerulf Rieger, Ritesha S. Krishnappa, Alana B. Kolundzija, J. Michael Bailey, Eden R. Martin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Male sexual orientation is influenced by environmental and complex genetic factors. Childhood gender nonconformity (CGN) is one of the strongest correlates of homosexuality with substantial familiality. We studied brothers in families with two or more homosexual brothers (409 concordant sibling pairs in 384 families, as well as their heterosexual brothers), who self-recalled their CGN. To map loci for CGN, we conducted a genome-wide linkage scan (GWLS) using SNP genotypes. The strongest linkage peaks, each with significant or suggestive two-point LOD scores and multipoint LOD score support, were on chromosomes 5q31 (maximum two-point LOD = 4.45), 6q12 (maximum two-point LOD = 3.64), 7q33 (maximum two-point LOD = 3.09), and 8q24 (maximum two-point LOD = 3.67), with the latter not overlapping with previously reported strongest linkage region for male sexual orientation on pericentromeric chromosome 8. Family-based association analyses were used to identify associated variants in the linkage regions, with a cluster of SNPs (minimum association p = 1.3 × 10–8) found at the 5q31 linkage peak. Genome-wide, clusters of multiple SNPs in the 10–6 to 10–8p-value range were found at chromosomes 5p13, 5q31, 7q32, 8p22, and 10q23, highlighting glutamate-related genes. This is the first reported GWLS and genome-wide association study on CGN. Further increasing genetic knowledge about CGN and its relationships to male sexual orientation should help advance our understanding of the biology of these associated traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3377-3383
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Childhood gender nonconformity
  • Complex trait
  • GWAS
  • Genome-wide linkage scan
  • Male sexual orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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