The newly developed algorithm presented at the American Society of Human Genetics 2015 in Baltimore showed up to 70% accuracy
Researchers have developed an algorithm that identifies patterns of DNA methylation in human genome related to sexual orientation areas. DNA methylation is a molecular modification that controls gene expression and appears when triggered by environmental factors.
Identical twins’ different sexual orientation was the starting point for this new research, considering DNA alterations as a main factor that influences sexual orientation in men, as Professor Tim Spector, of King’s College London in the UK, declared for The Telegraph: “It has always been a mystery why identical twins who share all their genes can vary in homosexuality. Epigenetic differences are one obvious reason and this study provides evidence for this.”
47 pairs of identical twins participated in the genetic study. 37 of the pairs were twins with different sexual orientation and 10 were twins with the same sexual orientation (homosexual).
The huge amount of genetic data implied creating an algorithm to calculate results. The FuzzyForrest algorithm was able to identify DNA methylation patterns in 9 areas of the human genome related to sexual orientation. The accuracy of the algorithm prediction was found to be up to 70%.
Lead study author, Dr. Tuck C. Ngun, of the University of California-Los Angeles explains:
“To our knowledge, this is the first example of a predictive model for sexual orientation based on molecular markers.
“A challenge was that because we studied twins, their DNA methylation patterns were highly correlated.
“The high correlation and large data set made it difficult to identify differences between twins, determine which ones were relevant to sexual orientation, and determine which of those could be used predictively.
“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.
“Sexual attraction is such a fundamental part of life, but it’s not something we know a lot about at the genetic and molecular level. I hope that this research helps us understand ourselves better and why we are the way we are.”