Eye Color, Hair Color, Blood Type, and the Rhesus Factor: Exploring Possible Genetic Links to Sexual Orientation
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
The present study sought to expand the limited evidence that sexual orientation is influenced by genetic factors. This was accomplished by seeking statistical differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals for four traits that are known to be genetically determined: eye color, natural hair color, blood type, and the Rhesus factor. Using a sample of over 7,000 U.S. and Canadian college students supplemented with additional homosexual subjects obtained through internet contacts, we found no significant differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals regarding eye color or hair color. In the case of blood type and the Rh factor, however, interesting patterns emerged. Heterosexual males and females exhibited statistically identical frequencies of the A blood type, while gay men exhibited a relatively low incidence and lesbians had a relatively high incidence (p < .05). In the case of the Rh factor, unusually high proportions of homosexuals of both sexes were Rh− when compared to heterosexuals (p < .06). The findings suggest that a connection may exist between sexual orientation and genes both on chromosome 9 (where blood type is determined) and on chromosome 1 (where the Rh factor is regulated).
- Blanchard, R., & Ellis, L. (2001). Birth weight, sexual orientation, and the sex of preceding siblings. Journal of Biosocial Science, 33, 451–467. CrossRef
- Cattell, R. B., Boutourline, J., Young, H., & Hundleby, J. D. (1964). Blood groups and personality traits. American Journal of Human Genetics, 16, 397–402.
- Cherif-Zahar, B., Bloy, C., Le Van Kim, C., Blanchard, D., Bailly, P., Hermand, P., et al. (1990). Molecular cloning and protein structure of a human blood group Rh polypeptide. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 87, 6243–6247.
- Cherif-Zahar, B., Mattei, M. G., Le Van Kim, C., Bailly, P., Cartron, J. P., & Colin, Y. (1991). Localization of the human Rh blood group gene structure to chromosome region 1p34.3–1p36.1 by in situ hybridization. Human Genetics, 86, 398–400. CrossRef
- Cohen, B. H., & Thomas, C. B. (1962). Comparison of smokers and non-smokers II: The distribution of ABO and Rh(D) blood groups. Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, 110, 1–7.
- Coplan, R. J., Coleman, B., & Rubin, K. H. (1998). Shyness and little boy blue: Iris pigmentation, gender, and social wariness in preschoolers. Developmental Psychobiology, 32, 37–44. CrossRef
- Ellis, L. (1996). The role of perinatal factors in determining sexual orientation. In R. C. Savin-Williams & K. M. Cohen (Eds.), The lives of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals (pp. 35–70). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.
- Ellis, L., & Ames, M. A. (1987). Neurohormonal functioning and sexual orientation: A theory of homosexuality-heterosexuality. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 233–258. CrossRef
- Ellis, L., & Hellberg, J. (2005). Fetal exposure to prescription drugs and adult sexual orientation. Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 225–236. CrossRef
- Ellis, L., Robb, B., & Burke, D. (2005). Sexual orientation in a large sample of United States and Canadian college students: Toward refined measurement. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34, 596–581. CrossRef
- Hamer, D., Hu, H. S., Magnuson, V. L., Hu, N., & Pattattucci, A. M. (1993). A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation. Science, 261, 321–327. CrossRef
- Hu, S., Pattatucci, A. M. L., Patterson, C., Li, L., Fulker, D. W., Cherny, S. S., et al. (1995). Linkage between sexual orientation and chromosome Xq28 in males but not in females. Nature Genetics, 11, 248–256. CrossRef
- Jordan, B. K., Shen, J. H.-C., Olaso, R., Ingraham, H. A., & Vilain, E. (2003). Wnt4 over-expression disrupts normal testicular vasculature and inhibits testosterone synthesis by repressing steroidogenic factor 1/beta-catenin synergy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100, 10866–10871.
- Lewis, M., Kaita, H., Giblett, E. R., & Anderson, J. (1978). Genetic linkage analyses of chromosome 9 loci ABO and AK1. Cytogenetics and Cell Genetics 22, 452–455.
- Luo, X., Ikeda, Y., & Parker, K. L. (1994). A cell-specific nuclear receptor is essential for adrenal and gonadal development and sexual differentiation. Cell, 77, 481–490. CrossRef
- Masters, A. B. (1967). The distribution of blood groups in psychiatric illness. British Journal of Psychiatry, 113, 1309–1315. CrossRef
- Mendlewicz, J., Massart-Guiot, T., Wilmotte, J., & Fleiss, J. L. (1974). Blood groups in manic-depressive illness and schizophrenia. Diseases of the Nervous System, 35, 39–41.
- Ozisik, G., Achermann, J. C., Meeks, J. J., & Mameson, J. L. (2003). SF1 in the development of the adrenal gland and gonads. Hormone Research, 50(Suppl.), 94–98. CrossRef
- Parker, J. B., Theilie, A., & Spielberger, C. D. (1961). Frequency of blood types in a homogenous group of manic-depressive patients. Journal of Mental Science, 107, 936–942.
- Rahman, Q., Kumari, V., & Wilson, G. D. (2003). Sexual orientation-related differences in prepulse inhibition of the human startle response. Behavioral Neuroscience, 117, 1096–1102. CrossRef
- Raymond, C. S., Shamu, C. E., Shey, M. M., Seifert, K. J., Hirsch, J., & Zarkower, D. (1998). Evidence for evolutionary conservation of sex-determining genes. Nature, 391, 691–695. CrossRef
- Relethford, J. H., Lees, F. C., & Byard, P. J. (1985). Sex and age variations in the skin color of Irish children. Current Anthropology, 26, 396–397. CrossRef
- Rice, G., Anderson, C., Risch, N., & Ebers, G. (1999). Male homosexuality: Absence of linkage to microsatellite markers at Xq28. Science, 284, 665–667. CrossRef
- Rinieris, P. M., Stefanis, C. N., Lykouras, E. P., & Varsou, E. K. (1979). Affective disorders and ABO blood types. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 60, 272–278. CrossRef
- Robson, E. B., Cook, P. J. L., & Buckton, K. E. (1977). Family studies with the chromosome 9 markers ABO, AK1, ACONs, and 9qh. Annals of Human Genetics, 41, 53–60. CrossRef
- Saitou, N., & Yamamoto, F. (1997). Evolution of primate ABO blood group genes and their homologous genes. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 14, 399–411.
- Shapiro, R. W., Rafaelsen, O. J., Ryder, L. P., Svejgaard, A., & Sorensen, H. (1977). ABO blood groups in unipolar and bipolar manic-depressive patients. American Journal of Psychiatry, 134, 197–200.
- Smith, C. A., McClive, P. J., Western, P. S., Reed, K. J., & Sinclair, A. H. (1999). Conservation of a sex-determining gene. Nature, 402, 601–602. CrossRef
- Tobin, D. J. (2006). Biochemistry of human skin: Our brain on the outside. Chemical Society Review, 35, 62–67.
- Voracek, M. (2004). Suicide rate and blood groups: An ecological study of 39 nations. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 99, 896–898. CrossRef
- Westerveld, A., Jongsma, A. P. M., Khan, P. M., van Someren, H., & Bootsma, D. (1976). Assignment of the AK1:Np: ABO linkage group to human chromosome 9. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 73, 895–899.
- Whitehead, N. E. (2007). An antiboy antibody? Re-examination of the maternal immune hypothesis. Journal of Biosocial Science, 39, 905–921. CrossRef
- Eye Color, Hair Color, Blood Type, and the Rhesus Factor: Exploring Possible Genetic Links to Sexual Orientation
Archives of Sexual Behavior
Volume 37, Issue 1 , pp 145-149
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
- Additional Links
- Sexual orientation
- Blood type
- Rhesus factor
- Hair color
- Eye color
- Industry Sectors