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Heterosexual Male Carriers Could Explain Persistence of Homosexuality in Men: Individual-Based Simulations of an X-Linked Inheritance Model

Abstract

Homosexuality has been documented throughout history and is found in almost all human cultures. Twin studies suggest that homosexuality is to some extent heritable. However, from an evolutionary perspective, this poses a problem: Male homosexuals tend to have on average five times fewer children than heterosexual males, so how can a phenomenon associated with low reproductive success be maintained at relatively stable frequencies? Recent findings of increased maternal fecundity of male homosexuals suggest that the genes responsible for homosexuality in males increase fecundity in the females who carry them. Can an increase in maternal fecundity compensate for the fecundity reduction in homosexual men and produce a stable polymorphism? In the current study, this problem was addressed with an individual-based modeling (IBM) approach. IBM suggests that male homosexuality can be maintained in a population at low and stable frequencies if roughly more than half of the females and half of the males are carriers of genes that predispose the male to homosexuality.

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Acknowledgments

I thank Lexo Gavashelishvili and David Tarkhnishvili for providing valuable suggestions on manuscript. I express my gratitude to Ryan Erickson and Cort Anderson for improving the use of English in the article. I also thank three anonymous reviewers and the Editor for their helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Giorgi Chaladze.

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Chaladze, G. Heterosexual Male Carriers Could Explain Persistence of Homosexuality in Men: Individual-Based Simulations of an X-Linked Inheritance Model. Arch Sex Behav 45, 1705–1711 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0742-2

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Keywords

  • Homosexuality
  • Simulation
  • Population Genetics
  • X-linked
  • Sexual orientation