Testing Miller's theory of alleles preventing androgenization as an evolutionary explanation for the genetic predisposition for male homosexuality

Pekka Santtila, Högbacka A-L, Patrik Jern, A Johansson, M Varjonen, Katarina Witting, von der Pahlen B, Kenneth Sandnabba

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7 Citations (Scopus)


The genetic background of male homosexuality presents an evolutionary paradox, since homosexuality could be considered a reproductive disadvantage. We tested E.M. Miller's (2000) balanced polymorphism explanation, which states that alleles partially preventing androgenization in male fetuses during pregnancy would be associated with a homosexual orientation. Having all the alleles produces homosexuality, while heterosexual carriers with only a few of these alleles instead have a reproductive advantage; that is, they have more traits, which, by controlling for excessive aggressiveness and psychopathy, make them more attractive mates. Pairs of brothers were used to test these assumptions. If homosexuality is due to having all the androgenization-preventing alleles, then heterosexual men with homosexual brothers are more likely to also have some of the these alleles compared to heterosexual men with heterosexual brothers. These two categories were compared on variables related both directly and indirectly to reproductive success, with heterosexual men with a homosexual brother hypothesized to have an advantage on the variables. However, no statistically significant findings in support of the theory were detected. The results were discussed together with alternative explanations. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)58–65
Number of pages8
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Balanced polymorphism
  • Evolution
  • Homosexuality
  • Reproductive advantage

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