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, 30 (4), 382-91

Fluctuating Asymmetry, Second to Fourth Finger Length Ratios and Human Sexual Orientation

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Fluctuating Asymmetry, Second to Fourth Finger Length Ratios and Human Sexual Orientation

Qazi Rahman. Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Abstract

Sexual orientation in humans may be influenced by levels of prenatal sex steroids which canalise neurodevelopment along sex-typical (heterosexual) or sex-atypical (homosexual) lines. Some evidence for sexual-orientation-related differences in putative somatic markers of prenatal sex hormones supports this view. A competing theory asserts that human homosexuality is due to developmental instability (DI) because it represents a shift from the species-typical pattern of heterosexual orientation. Evidence for elevated rates of non-right handedness among homosexuals provides limited support for this account. The current study tested both theories by examining nine bilateral somatic traits in 120 healthy heterosexual and homosexual men and women in order to compute second to fourth finger length ratios (2D:4D), a measure ascribed to levels of prenatal sex steroids, and fluctuating asymmetry (FA), a measure of DI. Homosexual men and women had significantly lower right hand 2D:4D ratios (even after controlling for handedness, height and weight differences) in comparison to heterosexuals, but sexual orientation did not relate to composite FA scores. The findings constrain the number of possible neurodevelopmental pathways responsible for sexual orientation in humans.

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