Sexual-orientation study

June 10, 2019

A new study from Professor Doug VanderLaan's lab in UTM's Department of Psychology looking at biological mechanisms that are often thought to influence male sexual orientation was published in the latest edition of PNAS.

"Studying individual differences in gender and sexual orientation provides insight into how early-life biology shapes the brain and behaviour," says the developmental psychology researcher.

VanderLaan's study assessed whether biomarkers--markers of early-life biological processes--work in conjunction with each other to contribute to male same-sex sexual orientation or influence sexual orientation independently of one another.

"The biomarkers have all tended to be studied on their own before. But our study considers whether there is some interaction or association between these influences," says VanderLaan.

The biomarkers VanderLaan examined included participants' number of older brothers, rate of left- versus right-handedness, and the presence of gay and/or bisexual male relatives in their families. VanderLaan's group used latent profile analysis (LPA), a statistical technique, to help identify whether these biomarkers cluster together in the same individuals or are present in only particular subgroups of men.

The study found evidence for at least four different subgroups: men with elevated numbers of older brothers, men with a greater degree of non-right-handedness, men with elevated gay and/or bisexual male relatives, and men with low levels of these biomarkers.

VanderLaan's study concluded that the biomarkers likely reflect different subgroups of men. Participants who belonged to the subgroups that showed biomarkers were more likely to report same-sex attractions than the subgroup that showed low levels of these biomarkers.

"These findings likely reflect the existence of subgroups of same-sex attracted men who owe their sexual orientation to different developmental processes," VanderLaan says.

The study also found differences between the subgroups on measures of psychological characteristics that previous research had suggested were associated with male sexual orientation. The subgroup without these biomarkers conformed the most to masculine gender roles, whereas the subgroup with greater numbers of older brothers among their siblings scored higher on measures of feminine gender role expression and agreeableness. These patterns suggest the biological processes associated with each biomarker might have unique influences on psychological development.

"Our study illustrates the value of LPA for studying individual differences in people," says VanderLaan.

"The findings also suggest that there are multiple and distinct pathways influencing same-sex sexual orientation in men and we will further pursue these pathways in other studies."
-end-


University of Toronto

Related Biomarkers Articles from Brightsurf:

Urgent need for blood-based biomarkers to diagnosis concussion
There is an urgent need for objective markers for diagnosing concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury.

Engineered bacteria churn out cancer biomarkers
A Cornell lab has created these very tools by commandeering simple, single-celled microorganisms - namely E. coli bacteria - and engineering them to explore the complex process of glycosylation and the functional role that protein-linked glycans play in health and disease.

Exercise induces secretion of biomarkers into sweat
The aim was to reveal the potential of microRNAs in sweat extracellular vesicles in monitoring exercise performance.

Phosphoprotein biomarkers to guide cancer therapy are identified
Researchers led by James Bibb, Ph.D., professor of surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, suggest using a broader lens of post-translational modification analysis to identify new biomarkers of cancer drivers that may allow a much more precise prediction of patient responses to treatments.

Exhaled biomarkers can reveal lung disease
Using specialized nanoparticles, MIT engineers have developed a way to diagnose pneumonia or other lung diseases by analyzing the breath exhaled by the patient.

Race-specific lupus nephritis biomarkers
A University of Houston biomedical researcher has discovered a difference in urinary biomarker proteins of lupus nephritis in patients according to race.

Semen miRNAs could be non-invasive biomarkers for prostate cancer
Researchers of the Human Molecular Genetics group at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), led by Dr.

Scientists have found longevity biomarkers
An international group of scientists studied the effects of 17 different lifespan-extending interventions on gene activity in mice and discovered genetic biomarkers of longevity.

After concussion, biomarkers in the blood may help predict recovery time
A study of high school and college football players suggests that biomarkers in the blood may have potential use in identifying which players are more likely to need a longer recovery time after concussion, according to a study published in the July 3, 2019, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

3D-printed device detects biomarkers of preterm birth
Preterm birth (PTB) -- defined as birth before the 37th week of gestation -- is the leading complication of pregnancy.

Read More: Biomarkers News and Biomarkers Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.