Having An Older Brother Linked To Male Homosexuality

Having An Older Brother Linked To Male Homosexuality

The study would have to be replicated in order to test out its verifiability, but it possibly supports a 2006 study showing that a man's chance of being gay goes up by about a third with each older brother he has (though that study didn't explain why).

Earlier research has shown that the more older brothers a boy has, the more of a chance that boy will be attracted to men.

According to the study, when a woman is pregnant with her first male child, a protein linked to the Y-chromosome (NLGN4Y) is released that is required for the development of the baby's brain. The mother's body thinks that the protein is a foreign substance, and the immune system reacts accordingly by producing antibodies.

And it is the "Y" chromosome which creates the biological differences that make a child male that triggers an immune reaction in a mother.

"Gay men have, on average, a greater number of older brothers than do heterosexual men, a well-known finding within sexual science".

For this study Bogaert and his colleagues looked at 142 women and 12 men between ages 18 and 80 years and checked for the protein NLGN4Y and the antibodies against it.

If a mother with a buildup of these antibodies becomes pregnant with another boy, these antibodies may pass through to the fetus and affect its brain development.

The antibody levels of two proteins expressed in the male fetal brain, PCDH11Y and two forms of NLGN4Y, were measured.

Researchers did not see a similar pattern in families with adopted brothers, so scientists started to think there must be a maternal developmental explanation.

The study suggested the effect of these antibodies on the protein they target leads to changes in parts of the brain that have an influence on sexual orientation. "Along with more deeply understanding the exact origin of the older brother effect, it helps solidify the idea that, at least in men, there's a strong biological basis to sexual orientation".

"This is a very important study because it provides a plausible mechanism to explain the fraternal birth order effect, perhaps the most firmly established phenomenon related to human sexual orientation", says Marc Breedlove, professor of Neuroscience at Michigan State University, said, the New Scientist website reported. You may have your older brothers to thank. "The current study adds to the growing scientific consensus that homosexuality is not a choice, but rather an innate predisposition", Bogaert said.

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