Gavrilets’ Epigenetics Study in the News

Researchers this month presented unpublished data at a genetics meeting claiming that by analyzing certain chemical tags, they can predict a man’s sexual orientation with nearly 70 percent accuracy.

Sergey Gavrilets, a joint UT professor of math and ecology and evolutionary biology, was quoted in several articles about the topic. Gavrilets was not part of this study. But in 2012, he and colleagues published a study proposing that epigenetics — how gene expression is regulated by temporary switches — may be linked to homosexuality. The study theorized that sex-specific epi-marks, which are “erased” and thus normally do not pass between generations, can lead to homosexuality when they escape erasure and are transmitted from father to daughter or mother to son.

He was featured in several news outlets including Buzzfeed, Science, and the Scientist.