The New Genetics of Sexual Orientation: How Large-scale Genetic Data Can Help Us Understand Our Social World

12-1 pm

PSTC Seminar Room 205

Robbee Wedow, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

While large-scale genetic data have transformed the biological sciences, these data are only now beginning to provide important insights into social and population processes. Drawing on his research at the intersection of the social sciences and genetics, Wedow will highlight the promise that genetics holds for understanding our social world. In particular, he will focus on new work on the genetics of non-heterosexual behavior. Using genetic data from the UK Biobank, 23andMe, Add Health, and other data sets, his research demonstrates the complexity and richness of non-heterosexual behavior across time, across outcomes, and between sexes. He will also discuss the politics and ethics of social science genetics, and will use his work to forward a framework for how social scientists might engage with controversial genetics topics.

Robbee Wedow is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Harvard Department of Sociology, and Department of Epidemiology in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Wedow's work sits at the intersection of sociology, demography, and statistical genetics. He focuses especially on the environmental and genetic etiologies of complex human social behaviors like educational attainment, risk-taking behavior, smoking and drinking behaviors, and sexual orientation.

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