October 27th, 2008

At work, Self portrait

Genetic influence found in transsexuality

New Scientist reports two findings, one in male-to-female transsexual and an earlier in female-to-male, where two different genes (one for each condition) are more common in the transsexuals. This corroborates earlier findings that there are small but measurable differences in the brains of some transsexuals, making them more like the brains of the other sex.

The genes are not on/off switches - in fact, they are both widespread, with only a few percentage points more prevalence in the transsexual group than in the control group. Still, the findings may indicate that there is a biological bias, as opposed to all transsexuality being down to personal choice or "cultural factors*". Researchers deny that they are looking for a cure.

(* "Cultural factors" is a synonym for "something", much like "dark matter" and "dark energy" are in cosmology. Almost everyone agrees that they exist and have visible effects, but try to specify what they are and all heck breaks loose.)