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Experts Question Study Citing Method That Predicts Sexual Orientation

LOS ANGELES (CBS Sacramento) -- Experts are cautioning the public that a new study claiming to predict sexual orientation has several limitations.

Researchers published a study Thursday indicating that male sexual orientation may be based on molecular markers that control DNA function, as reported by Fox News. However, experts are warning that the study's findings likely do not provide answers to sexual preference based on biology.

The study evaluated 37 pairs of identical male twins, one of who was homosexual and the other heterosexual, in addition to 10 sets of twins which both males were homosexual. Researchers found that specific epigenetic marks in nine areas of human genome were able to identify homosexual preference with up to 70 percent accuracy.

"To our knowledge, this is the first example of a predictive model for sexual orientation based on molecular markers," Tuck Ngun, lead researcher on the study from the David Geffen School of Medicine of the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a statement.

But genetic experts are warning that the findings are premature and that it's too early to confirm predictive powers of these epigenetic markers based on the current research.

"The question as to whether that prediction is going to be useful outside of the small number of twins in the study is really unclear," Dr. Christopher Gregg, a genetics professor at the University of Utah, told Fox News.

Outside experts say the findings lack clarity given the small sample size, and that there is not enough power in the study to confirm the findings. They warn the public not to misinterpret the report as a predicting model.

"Just because there is something different doesn't mean that's what's causing people to behave one way versus the other," he said. Researchers agree that further studies and a much larger sample size must be undertaken to reach any firm conclusions.
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