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Genetic Determinism


Updated April 19, 2010


Genetic determinism usually refers to the idea that some or all of an individuals behaviors or characteristics are determined by their genetic make-up, or their genes. Obvious examples of this are known genetic disorders, such as Down’s Syndrome or cystic fibrosis, which have identifiable genetic causes and influence the overall person.

But genetic determinism is also connected broader research that seeks to explain complex social and individual human behaviors, including sexual behaviors, in terms of our genetic make-up.

One well known example of this is the (as yet unsuccessful) search for a “gay gene” that determines sexual orientation. In 2006, researchers published the first study attempting to connect specific elements of a gene to sexual arousal, desire, and behavior.

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