Scientists have called for the removal of a bizarre new app falsely claiming to determine “how gay” its users are based on their DNA.
“How Gay Are You?” is available on GenePlaza, a “DNA and genetics-focused” app store, offering people apps to analyse DNA test results.
When users download the app, they’re prompted to have their DNA sequenced by a third party with the false promise of a genetic score for “same-sex attraction”.
However the app is unscientific and “totally misrepresents” a recent study on genetic links to sexual attraction, scientists say.
Twelve scientists involved in that study, published in August, sent an open letter to GenePlaza calling for the app to be pulled.
“As authors of the Science paper, which you cite, we are writing to urge you to take down this application immediately,” they wrote.
“The ‘score’ you are marketing through this app is a total misrepresentation of the conclusions of the work.
“Our study indicated that individual-level prediction is impossible for same-sex sexual behavior.
“The promotion of this app and, in particular, the claims it makes are a gross and dangerous mischaracterisation of the work.”
“At minimum, we request that you discontinue claiming that your app is drawn from our work in any way… The right thing to do is to remove the app completely, which we hope you will do.”
International ‘gay genes’ study the largest of its kind
In August, the scientists published the largest ever study of its kind debunking the notion of a so-called “gay gene.”
The scientists stressed the findings could not be used to create valid or accurate predictions of a person’s sexuality.
They identified five genetic variants that played a role in same-sex sexual attraction. However, the researchers claim hundreds of thousands also appear to be involved.
The researchers said the study reinforced “the extreme complexity” of the biology underlying sexual orientation and there were no “black-and-white answers.”
“The behavioral phenotypes are complex, our genetic insights are rudimentary, and there is a long history of misusing genetic results for social purposes,” the study says.
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