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Tuesday, February 10, 1998 Published at 23:11 GMT


Sexuality shown by thumbprints say scientists

First it was the so-called "gay gene" and now scientists say they have proof homosexuals have different fingerprints.

Chandler Burr, science journalist and gay man, speaking about the nature/nurture argument (1' 23")
Professor Richard Green, from London's Charing Cross Hospital, says gay men have significantly fewer ridges on their right thumbs than heterosexual men.

The inference is that a gene, responsible at least in part, for shaping fingerprints also, somehow, has a role in determining sexual orientation.

The discovery, made after extensive comparisons of the prints of gay and "straight" men, is likely to reignite the age-old argument about whether sexual orientation is predestined or not.

It also raises the prospect of a genetic test for homosexuality and the question of whether parents, or society, should be allowed to take any action based on such information.

Science journalist Chandler Burr, himself a gay man, is the author of "A Separate Creation: How Biology Makes Us Gay".

He says the study provides further ammunition to those, like him, who claim sexual orientation is predestined at birth.

Mr Burr says it is clear homosexuality is an inborn instinct and not a "frivolous lifestyle" which was chosen at whim.

He says not all people with gay orientations choose to "come out" and some stay in their "closets" all their lives.

Anya Palmer, of the gay and lesbian rights group Stonewall, comments on the research (21")
Anya Palmer, from the gay and lesbian rights group Stonewall, says the question of whether an individual's homosexuality is innate or imported is irrelevant.

She says it is more important to make sure all homosexuals' human rights are protected.


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