Researchers Explore the Science of Gender Identity

NEW YORK — While President Donald Trump has thrust transage calculator in years
people back into the conflict between conservative và liberal values in the United States, geneticists are quietly working on a major research effort phệ unlock the secrets of gender identity .A consortium of five research institutions in Europe và the United States, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center, George Washington University và Boston Children’s Hospital, is looking mập the genome, a person’s complete mix of DNA, for clues about whether transgender people are born that way .

Two decades of brain research have provided hints of a biological origin phệ being transgender, but no irrefutable conclusions .Image: A worker checks the serial number on a slice of human brainA worker checks the serial number on a slice of human brain before using a saw mập cut a piece from the sample at a brain ngân hàng in the Bronx borough of New York City, Thành Phố New York, U.S. June 28, 2017 .CARLO ALLEGRI / ReutersNow scientists in the consortium have embarked on what they Hotline the largest-ever study of its kind, searching for a genetic component béo explain why people assigned one gender at birth so sánh persistently identify as the other, often from very early childhood .Researchers have extracted DNA from the blood samples of 10,000 people, 3,000 of them transgender & the rest non-transgender, or cisgender. The project is awaiting grant funding lớn begin the next phase : testing about tam million markers, or variations, across the genome for all of the samples .Knowing what variations transgender people have in common, & comparing those patterns mập those of cisgender people in the study, may help investigators understand what role the genome plays in everyone’s gender identity .” If the trait is strongly genetic, then people who identify as trans will chia sẻ more of their genome, not because they are related in nuclear families but because they are more anciently related, ” said Lea Davis, leader of the study & an assistant professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute .The tìm kiếm for the biological underpinnings is taking on mới nhất relevance as the battle for transgender rights plays out in the U.S. political arena .One of the first acts of the mới ra Trump administration was lớn revoke Obama-era guidelines directing public schools phệ allow transgender students bự use bathrooms of their choice. Last week, the president announced on Twitter he intends béo ban transgender people from serving in the military .

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Texas lawmakers are debating a bathroom bill that would require people lớn use the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate. North Carolina in March repealed a similar law after a national boycott cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost business .Currently, the only way lớn determine whether people are transgender is for them bự self-identify as such. While civil rights activists contend that should be sufficient, scientists have taken their tìm kiếm Khủng the lab .That quest has made some transgender people nervous. If a ” cause ” is found it could posit a ” cure, ” potentially opening the door Khủng so-called reparative therapies similar mập those that attempt Khủng turn gay people straight, advocates say. Others raise concerns about the rights of those who may identify as trans but lack biological ” proof. “Davis stressed that her study does not seek lớn produce a genetic thử nghiệm for being transgender, nor would it be able béo. Instead, she said, she hopes the dữ liệu will lead Khủng better care for transgender people, who experience wide health disparities compared bự the general population .One-third of transgender people reported a negative healthcare experience in the previous year such as verbal harassment, refusal of treatment or the need lớn teach their doctors about transgender care, according bự a landmark survey of nearly 28,000 people released last year by the National Center for Transgender Equality .

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Some 40 percent have attempted suicide, almost nine times the rate for the general population .” We can use this information mập help train doctors và nurses Khủng provide better care béo trans patients & béo also develop amicus briefs mập tư vấn equal rights legislation, ” said Davis, who is also director of research for Vanderbilt’s gender health clinic .The Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee has one of the world’s largest DNA databanks. It also has emerged as a leader in transgender healthcare with initiatives such as the Trans Buddy Program, which pairs every transgender patient with a volunteer bự help guide them through their healthcare visits .The study has applied for a grant from the National Institutes of Health & is exploring other financial sources Khủng provide the USD một million needed lớn complete the genotyping, expected lớn take a year mập 18 months. Analysis of the dữ liệu would take about another six months & require more funding, Davis said .The other consortium members are Vrije University in Amsterdam & the FIMABIS institute in Malaga, Spain .


Until now, the bulk of research into the origins of being transgender has looked at the brain .Neurologists have spotted clues in the brain structure và activity of transgender people that distinguish them from cisgender subjects .A seminal 1995 study was led by Dutch neurobiologist Dick Swaab, who was also among the first scientists phệ discover structural differences between male & female brains. Looking at postmortem brain tissue of transgender subjects, he found that male-to-female transsexuals had clusters of cells, or nuclei, that more closely resembled those of a typical female brain, và vice versa .Swaab’s body toàn thân of work on postmortem samples was based on just 12 transgender brains that he spent 25 years collecting. But it gave rise phệ a whole hot nhất field of inquiry that today is being explored with advanced brain scan công nghệ on living transgender volunteers .Image: Dr. Ivanka Savic points to a study on the screen of her computer at her home in Los AngelesDr. Ivanka Savic points mập a study on the màn hình hiển thị of her computer at her home page in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 30, 2017 .Lucy Nicholson / ReutersAmong the leaders in brain scan research is Ivanka Savic, a professor of neurology with Sweden’s Karolinska Institute và visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles .Her studies suggest that transgender men have a weakened connection between the two areas of the brain that process the perception of self & one’s own body toàn thân. Savic said those connections seem lớn improve after the person receives cross-hormone treatment .Her work has been published more than 100 times on various topics in peer-reviewed journals, but she still cannot conclude whether people are born transgender .” I think that, but I have bự prove that, ” Savic said .

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A number of other researchers, including both geneticists & neurologists, presume a biological component that is also influenced by upbringing .But Paul McHugh, a university professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, has emerged as the leading voice challenging the ” born-this-way ” hypothesis .He encourages psychiatric therapy for transgender people, especially children, so sánh that they accept the gender assigned bự them at birth .McHugh has gained a following among mạng xã hội conservatives, while incensing LGBTQ advocates with comments such as calling transgender people ” counterfeit. “Last year he co-authored a nhận xét of the scientific literature published in The New Atlantis journal, asserting there was scant evidence mập suggest sexual orientation & gender identity were biologically determined .The article drew a rebuke from nearly 600 academics & clinicians who called it misleading .McHugh told Reuters he was ” unmoved ” by his critics & says he doubts additional research will reveal a biological cause .” If it were obvious, ” he said, ” they would have found it long ago. “

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