Updated 10:26 PM EST, Wed, Feb 26, 2020

Gay or Straight? New DNA Test Claims To Predict Sexual Orientation with 70% Accuracy

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In the 19th century, Swiss physician Fredrich Miescher isolated the first DNA. Now, almost 150 years later, researchers in the US claim that they have a new algorithm that can determine whether a man is straight or gay based on their DNA. However, Youth Health Magazine noted that their study, which claims 70% accuracy is a"novel research".

According to the group, one's sexual orientation can be determined by analyzing epigenetic markers that affect the gene expression --- a saliva sample can be enough to figure out whether you're straight or gay.

One of the researchers, Tuck C Ngun from the University of California Los Angeles said, "To our knowledge, this is the first example of a predictive model for sexual orientation based on molecular markers."

According to Science Alert, Ngun and his colleagues conducted their study with the help of about 50 pairs of identical male twins, with 37 pairs having one straight and one gay brother and a control group of 10 pairs of homosexual twins.

With the saliva samples obtained from each of the participants, the researchers looked for differences between the homosexual/heterosexual twins that could give an environmental explanation for the difference in their sexual orientation. Epigenetic markers, or molecules that affect how the DNA code is interpreted by our bodies, could be the indicator of homosexuality, given that the genetic sequence is otherwise identical.

To help them sort through the data, the researchers developed their own machine learning algorithm called FuzzyForest, which could be used to predict whether the male participants are straight or gay. Ngun said, "Previous studies had identified broader regions of chromosomes that were involved in sexual orientation, but we were able to define these areas down to the base pair level with our approach."

The findings have been brought up at The American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting in Baltimore, but has not been officially published yet. Even so, experts say that this study is unreliable. Assistant professor of neurobiology, anatomy and human genetics from the University of Utah, Christopher Gregg, said, "[T]he study does not provide evidence for 'epigenetic influences on sexual orientation', but it appears to have identified candidates for further investigation and an epigenetic signature that has some predictive utility in twins."

"Overall, the importance of these findings will hinge on how reproducible they are in future studies that include larger groups of heterosexual and homosexual individuals," he added.

Do you believe that one's DNA can explain the likelihood of an individual being straight or gay? Could this revelation, if proved to be true, have a positive or negative impact in a way society sees the LGBTQ population?

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