Robbee Wedow: The new genetics of sexual orientation: How large-scale genetic data can help us understand our social world


Thursday, February 14, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:15pm


Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies 9 Bow Street

Social Demography Seminar (SDS) presentation by Robbee Wedow, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University.



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 my research at the intersection of the social sciences and genetics, I will highlight the promise that genetics holds for understanding our social world. In particular, I 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, my research demonstrates the complexity and richness of non-heterosexual behavior across time, across outcomes, and between sexes. I will also discuss the politics and ethics of social science genetics, and I will use my work to forward a framework for how social scientists might engage with controversial genetics topics.