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Biological basis of sexual orientation

STANFORD -- Research into the biological basis of sexual orientation "presents a clear double message. Yes, genetics plays a part. No, it is not all genetics," Dora B. Goldstein, professor emeritus of molecular pharmacology, told the audience that attended the first in a series of public lectures sponsored by the Medical Center's Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual Community on March 9.

"This shouldn't be too surprising because that is what all kinds of behavioral studies indicate. Genes determine everything. The environment affects everything. Then there is this big area where the two interact," she added.

In her noon presentation, Goldstein reviewed relevant research in a number of different areas: population studies, family studies, twin studies, genetic research, childhood behavior, and brain differences.

The results of this survey are supported by studies of "gender non-conforming children." In little girls, this behavior, acting as tomboys, bears no social stigma. In little boys, cross-dressing, playing with dolls and behaving like girls is socially damaging. A larger than average number of such "sissy boys" become gay adults, she said.



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