The sex habits of mice have long been an intriguing subject for scientists. Now, mouse sex just got a lot more interesting for the rest of us.
A group of Korean geneticists has altered the sexual preferences of female mice by removing a single gene linked to reproductive behavior. Without the gene, the mice gravitated toward mice of the same sex.
Those mice who retained the gene, called FucM, were attracted to male mice. (FucM is short for fucose mutarotase.)
The geneticists' study, published last week in the journal BMC Genetics explains that female mice without FucM avoided male mice, declined to sniff male urine, and made passes at other females.
Lead author Chankyu Park, of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea, says this shows the absence of FucM tricks female mouse brains into functioning like male brains. "The mutant female mouse underwent a slightly altered developmental program in the brain to resemble the male brain in terms of sexual preference," he told the London Telegraph.
Park said he now wants to research whether this finding has any relevance for humans.
The fact that he is in South Korea, where bioethics are notoriously bendable may prove important as he goes forward. Research that gets anywhere close to searching for a gay gene -- even with animals -- has been highly controversial in the U.S., where opposition cuts across the political spectrum. Some still remember a 1995 study where scientists from the National Institutes of Health performed a similar procedure on male fruit flies, yielding what one journalist called "all-male conga lines." (For the record, the male flies became bisexual, not strictly gay.)
Even in South Korea, though, Park admits he may have trouble recruiting human volunteers for the next leg of his research.
Mara Hvistendahl is writing Unnatural Selection, a book on reproductive technology, sex selection, and gender imbalance.
This in only interesting to gay people desperately trying to prove it is a natural act.
Otherwise it is not popular nor is it science.
I doubt that it will be necessary to be proven by "recruiting human volunteers" for human tests. Genetic testing on unaltered people in a blind study could suffice. But personally I'm skeptical that humans possess this trait - at least in natural form because it isn't apparent as a cultural universal. That could make a genetic link unlikely (at least on a certain level).
But even if it is proven to exist in humans, this could have major ramifications on many fronts:
- What would it mean for civil rights lawsuits?
- Can gays/lesbians be considered as a distinct genetic group like other minorities or not?
- If there a gene that controls it, would parents want (or be able) to prevent/encourage homosexuality outright?
We are treading in uncharted territory here.
Jefro... you're a cunt sandwich.
You may have a point; genetics don't necessarily vindicate everything we do. Geneticists have even found genes for everything from drunkenness, cheating, etc. But does that mean we as a society must be tolerant of those? I don't think so. Maybe this is something similar.
Seeing as it is a current scientific study, and Millions of People want to know, I would say that you sir, are:
Confined to one way of life
And/Or, as I'd like to say, FAIL
Wow. The gene is seriously called FucM? FUCm? lol.
But seriously, Jefro, there is a gay gene. It is technically natural.
It should be no surprise that there may be physiological mechanisms involved in homosexuality. Genes determine the gender of male and female organisms, so it's possible that DNA and/or the epigenome (which controls expression of genes), also affects sexual orientation and sexual desire apart from obvious gender differences.
Does understanding the biological part of the equation change the debate about same-sex marriage or military policy? Does it help the small segment of the population that would wish to change their sexual orientation if it were possible? Does it bring relief to those who aren't sure of their orientation? Hard to tell.
The issue that's probably most important (and overlooked) is figuring out how to deal with our sexuality. Does it dominate and define us or is it simply another characteristic of our individuality? It seems that those who let sexuality dominate their lives are pitiable and conflicted; magnifying out of proportion just one of the numerous wonderful characteristics that contribute to the whole of who we are.
By the way, it should be noted that lack of attraction to the opposite sex is not necessarily evidence of homosexuality (especially if you're surrounded by some really unappealing specimens of the opposite sex).
Dont mind jefro, or any of the other people who wish to comment likewise or in response...the trolls shall go trollin whenever possible.
FucM ¿?...without it the female mice went for females, and with FucM they went after the males?
FucM is short for fucose mutarotase?? wai, really?
heheehaHA ummkay whatever you say guys, good to see a few SoKo scientists with a sense of humor, geneticists at that!
I dont see this, or if/when a human gene is discovered making all that much of an impact on society as a whole, no. I hope by the time that happens we'll all be a little more open to suggestion as we age instead of the other way around (sternly stuck in our ways and even more so as we age) but it may just be a pipedream of mine. People are people, and do appear to act as such.
lay off jefro jeez; has your argument really that invalid you have to resort to "cunt sandwich"
also if homosexuality is genetic how does the gene get passes on?
it's more environmental then genetic it is a cultural aspect, the gay community just trying to drum up sympathy by making them the victims of some disease
"I'm sorry officer I've tested positive for the speeding gene, don't give me a ticket"
The gay gene has already been discovered actually.... by Family Guy!
Isn't the human gay gene that pair of $500 boot cut gucci's.... baaahdummm ching!!!!
This just in; Japanese scientists make cat glow in dark. Sound familiar? There is not evidence any of the shit happens in nature and no evidence rats choose sexual partners other than to quickly mate and leave. Human beings are one of the only animals to have sex for pleasure so I doubt rats are going to pier one to pick out coffee tables and chairs. The life of a rat is of no relevance to our own and they do not consciously choose sexual partners based on the way they dress or behave or look. Animals are also known to steal, rape, and perform necrophilia but they have no alternate motivations or higher emotions which lead humans to these same decisions. You fucking retards do you actually think that rats are relevant to the study of human sexuality?
Will this sort of thing keep closeted gay-bashing, Right-Wing, Family Values, Bearded-Men-in-the-Sky-Fearing types from agreeing to genetic testing lest they should be found out for what they are?
FucM "short for fucose mutarotase" Yeah, yeah sure it is. That's really funny or an awfully good unplanned accidental naming collision, which is still funny.
Politically correctally speaking I thought we were told we were not to think people were different genetically in any way. I thought may be we were allowed, one small gene mutation for skin color perhaps, but nothing else. I am so confused, if political correctness is wrong, how will I know what to think, take the information, my own experiences, different research and everything else and think for myself?!? That's crazy and time consuming. It's easier just to let the collective decide for me.
Homophobic and anti same sex marriage individuals are nothing but arrogant, self loathing, irrational, bastards. Maybe this will officially give people the right to be gay by putting it off as a disease. It's better than constantly being bashed by right winged douche bags.
In response to the comment "If homosexuality is genetic, how does it get passed on."
There are many examples of behaviors in nature which reduce or eliminate an individual's chances of procreating. Yet these behaviors are perpetuated rather than trending toward dying out.
It stands to reason that these behaviors are latent in most or all individuals within the gene pool and serve some purpose toward improving the overall chances of continuing the species.
A less controversial example would be a woman who forgoes having children of her own, yet cares for the children of others.
Consider the obvious explanation for this: This behavior is perpetuated because it results in an increased chance of survival for the children of others within the gene pool.
It is passed on because we all possess this inclination - it's natural for a woman to want to care for children, whether she chooses to have children herself or not.
I'm not suggesting that we're all homosexual at heart. But if homosexuality is genetic, it obviously won't be passed from father to son, mother to daughter in most cases. So if this behavior is widespread and does not trend toward dying out, the only possible explanation is that it is latent in heterosexual individuals and likely serves some benefit to the gene pool as a whole.
Great news. So if indeed it is a naturally occurring genetic defect we should find a cure. Just like we cure myopia, genetically pre-disposed addictive personalities, breast cancer, etc.
That way sexual preference will no longer be a civil rights issue, but instead a medical issue.
... Holy crap.
I thought people who read Popular Science were intelligent, or at least tolerant. Don't some of you guys have some Fox News to watch?
I've always thought that Homosexuality relies partly on genes, and partly on environment. This would explain how it gets passed on (the gene isn't always activated), and also why a twin has a much -higher- chance of being gay if their twin is gay (roughly 50% as opposed to the 3-10% of the general population), but aren't -always- gay.
Either way, all these ignorant comments about drinking and speeding genes are irrelevant. There -are- genetic factors in addiction, homosexuality, and perhaps even speeding, but only the first and last are destructive behaviors.
This shouldn't be used as an "excuse" for being gay, because honestly, we don't need one.
That is only if we assume that homosexuality is a disease, John. And although I know I waste my time in telling you this, it's going to be difficult to establish the genetic "condition" of homosexuality as the direct cause of any harm whatsoever. Let alone harm sufficient to classify the genetic "abnormality" (for lack of a better word) as a disease requiring a cure.
At best you may find some who would be willing to view homosexuality as an undesirable trait such that they might seek a designer genetic "cure" for themselves in much the same way that a person with brown eyes might instead desire blue. But this is more akin to plastic surgery than it is to say a cancer vaccine.
But then I doubt a person such as yourself would support monkeying with the genome for such frivolous reasons. And in that, at least, we can agree.
Through much of the 90's and perhaps later, we've had it beaten into our heads that homosexuality was genetic by the "tolerant" and "educated" crowd. Well we now have genetic studies on homosexuality that demonstrate that homosexuality is NOT strictly genetic. They are the twin studies where you have twin pairs with both sexuality.
What they demonstrate is that at most, genes may influence someone towards homosexuality, but they do not DETERMINE homosexuality.
The former head of the human Genome project, Francis Collins has pointed out this low level of influence noting that it is lower than other behaviors such as cognitive ability or extraversion.
Even the APA which used to hammer this view in for political reasons has had to change it's view on it noting that biological factors will have to be placed along side environment (such as the way in which a Child was raised).
Don't get me wrong, I do believe what I wrote, but I sure love messing with you guys.
Kokopure - Tolerate means to do what every you like as long as it doesn't affect me. Gay "civil rights" affect everyone so that is where my tolerance ends. Tolerant does not mean I agree with you. If one supports homosexuality as a non-aberrant condition then polygamy, plural marriages, child-marriages, etc. must also be tolerated because the are all preference related and cultural relativism teaches that all cultures are equal and it is not fair to judge anther's culture.
BSolomon - I think my answer should have been more verbose. One of the issues I am getting to is that one's actions in modern society are being blamed on genetics more and more. Personal responsibility has gone to the wayside. I cannot count the number of articles I have ready where behavior is blamed on one's genes.
Last comment. Homosexuality is aberrant behavior by definition. Studies typically per homosexuality to the 1-3% range. Additionally, it is a genetic dead end.
<em>Last comment. Homosexuality is aberrant behavior by definition. Studies typically per homosexuality to the 1-3% range. Additionally, it is a genetic dead end.</em>
More telling is that it is a mind body mismatch that only takes a highschool sex ed class education to come to this conclusion.
Your comment is too short to understand what you are actually saying. Could you please expand and illuminate me on my false conclusion?
Merriam-Webster dictionary "2 : deviating from the usual or natural type". Anything that is +97% one way makes the <3% non-normal. It is fact. Fine if you thing homosexuality is OK, but that is not the point.
In response to John's comment:
"I think my answer should have been more verbose. One of the issues I am getting to is that one's actions in modern society are being blamed on genetics more and more. Personal responsibility has gone to the wayside. I cannot count the number of articles I have ready where behavior is blamed on one's genes."
I don't see this as a valid concern, John. Only an idiot would argue that people can't be held responsible for their actions due to genetics - even in cases where there exists a strong genetic basis.
For example, I may be strongly inclined toward the opposite sex due to my genetic makeup. That doesn't mean I can't control those urges where they are inappropriate (rape, etc.). And if I were to act on such urges, genetic predisposition would be a poor excuse for my behavior!
The disconnect here is that you and many others liken a harmless lifestyle to a crime and the biological basis for it to a genetic disease. You can't demonstrate that homosexuality (not individual homosexuals or the "homosexual agenda") causes harm. Therefore the argument has no merit.
I respect your opinion on personal responsibility and agree with it 100%, but with regards to this debate it's nothing more than smoke and mirrors to obscure the fact that your position is logically indefensible.
What are you afraid of, jefro? Time to come out of the closet.
BSolomon - Sincerely, great response. I was beginning to think everyone here had no ability to debate a topic.
Where I think you are wrong is your conclusion. In this case, you purport that there is no harm. I argue that there is harm and the harm is already occurring. Elevating a pre-disposition to a civil rights issue is harmful to society (and me, since I am part of the society). If this genetic pre-disposition is a civil right issue, then all other must be elevated too (alcoholism, compulsive over-eating, hoarding, gambling, pedophilia, etc.). That is equal protection under the law. Additionally, if there is a cure for this genetic pre-disposition, it will complete negate homosexuals as a "protected class", and they will be none too happy about that. A good non-political example is treating obesity as a disease. Obesity is not a disease, obesity is the effect of the disease (compulsive over-eating), be it mental, physical, emotional, genetic, etc. Obesity is a significant part of what is wrecking health care. The costs are significant and obesity can be stopped in nearly all cases...just eat less or exercise more.
I don't think I've ever seen a post so full of abusive comments. Let's stick to the science and debate that, rather than just call each other childish names.
Nothing in your response indicates harm caused directly by homosexuality. The examples you list cause direct harm to the individual and/or to those around them. Homosexuality does not.
Nobody would argue that an individual should have the right to cause harm to others provided that they do so based on a genetic predisposition, presumably beyond their control. That's ridiculous.
Let's try and remain focused on the issue at hand. I feel like you're purposely trying to obfuscate the issue to evade directly addressing criticisms of your position. I realize that this is pretty much par for the course in internet debate, but it gets tiresome.
My intent was not to obfuscate but instead I was trying to make a cogent argument. I might have been unclear but obfuscation was not my intent as you stated.
In this case, the impact is to society. Like I tried to argue above being homosexual is not the issue, it is the politicization of it by elevating it to a civil right that is the issue. That undermines the laws of the country and opens up the courts to more law suits that should never be there. Just like, since I disagree with homosexuality, people will accuse me of be homophobic. I do not think ham and pine-apple should ever be together, so by the same logic I am Hawaiian pizza-phobic. No one should ever be harmed because they are homosexual, but in the same way, choosing to engage sexually with the same gender is not a civil right. That is where the harm lies. Making a pre-disposition a right is bad precedent.
There are always unintended consequences...Just like declaring obesity as a disease and then the nay-sayers said it would not be an issue, it is a financial issue today.
I think you might be misreading John's point. As I understand it, you can all correct me if I'm wrong, the act of homosexuality isn't what's at issue in any public debate. That is, the public isn't debating whether or not to have homosexual sex. Instead, the public debate centers around how laws should react to it. How the legal system should respond to those acts is inseparable from what you call the "homosexual agenda," which I believe you are using as short-hand to refer to groups trying to make laws more favorable for homosexuality.
So asking for an explanation of the policy reasons while at the same time limiting him from discussing how the policy would practically apply seems a little paradoxical.