Saturday, January 4, 2014

THERE IS NO GAY GENE!

But Homosexuality Is Still Not A Choice

If homosexuals did have the "gay gene," you would think that gays would have gone extinct long ago. On the other hand, you could also argue that it was precisely society's strictures on homosexual behavior that perpetuated the homosexual "race," forcing them to procreate while they lead a double life. However, it is just as logical to assume that a heterosexual person could pass on this hypothetical "gay gene" to his/her offspring; this parent might not have the "symptoms," but was in fact just the "carrier" who would pass on this gene to his/her heterosexual and homosexual children.

Photo taken by Tim Evanson.
~ LGBT Pride celebration.

At any rate, the discovery of a "gay gene" would bring closure to the age-old question about choice and hereditary factors – perhaps relieving some of the unfair pressure placed on homosexuals by organized religion for centuries. But at the same time, it raises concerns about the use of genetic engineering on humans to remove "undesirable" traits by society.

In a paper published in The Quarterly Review of Biology on December 11th, 2013, scientists seem to be saying that the gay gene probably doesn't exist (authored by William R. Rice, Urban Friberg, and Sergey Gavrilets). At the same time, scientists are also confirming what gays and lesbians have been saying all along: they were born that way. It seems that the process of becoming gay starts in the womb. So, what's going on?

~ National Geographic explains epigenetics and homosexuality.

There is a relatively new discovery in biology called epigenetic marks, or "epi-marks." They are not genes, but are more like "switches" that control how genes function and are usually not passed on from one generation to another. However, some sex-specific epi-marks do occasionally get passed on from father to daughter and from mother to son. And in the womb, these epi-marks may activate or deactivate certain genes to determine the sexual orientation of an originally heterosexual fetus. In the recent study cited above, one theory states that gene regulation by sex-specific epi-marks is allowed to exist by evolution because it preserves the health of the parent, while slightly compromising the reproductive odds for future generations. These epi-marks tend to protect the mother from the fluctuations of sex hormones as the fetus is developing in her womb. As a possible side effect, the testosterone level of a male fetus may be reduced. However, the health of the fetus is not undermined by this process.

Further evidence that homosexuality is a function of evolution comes in another study published in December of 2013, it is authored by researchers Andrea Camperio Ciani and Elena Pellizzari, click here. Their study – together with another study in 2004 – have found that sisters, maternal aunts, and the maternal grandmother of gay men tend to have more children than those of straight men. There might be an unknown gene on the X chromosome that causes women, and some men, in this maternal line to have a higher attraction to the male gender. However, this gene is yet to be discovered. Again, the cost to fertility in the homosexual male is more than compensated by the extra fertility of his maternal female relatives.

[Updated Insert – May 29, 2015: This article seems to support the findings of Andrea Camperio Ciani and Elena Pellizzari; and there seems to be a genetic link, at least in fruit flies: "Scientists Discover Evolutionary Advantage For Homosexuality," click here.]

~ The ancient battle against contraception persists to this day.

Nature often has complicated, round-and-about ways to determine the best routes for survival. Like for the problems of man, solutions often involve complexity, compromise, and the weighing of the costs and benefits of certain evolutionary strategies. So, it is both ridiculous and disturbing when religious groups broadly dictate certain behaviors as being unnatural and against the will of God.

One example is the Roman Catholic Church's archaic stance against contraception. It is the result of one of the Church's many, very simplistic, assumptions: fertility is good because to exist is better than NOT to exist. Duh. Yes, fertility perpetuates survival. But overpopulation has been proven time and time again to be most disastrous to any species it afflicts. In the world of humans, nations burdened with overpopulation tend to be behind in economic and social development compared to countries that have the technology to manage their fertility rate effectively, click here. For our planet as a whole, the overpopulation of humans has been catastrophic for its wildlife and ecological systems.

~ Bonobos: a highly sexual nature aids in conflict resolution.

And organized religion's arrogant view in regard to homosexuality is just as simpleminded and flawed. Gay = no baby = bad. What's even more infuriating is organized religion's attempt to use voodoo science in the futile effort to convert homosexuals. Banned in a number of countries and American states, conversion therapy not only does not work, it may do some serious harm, especially to young people, click here.

[Updated Insert – November 25, 2014: Read the article: "Having homosexual thoughts 'is an essential part of human evolution' study suggests," click here.]

It is possible that the existence of homosexuality might be the result of the highly sexual nature of humans. As shown by our closest relative, the bonobo chimpanzee, this fluid sexuality might have given rise the to our ability to resolve conflicts and to cooperate in a social framework at the dawn of civilization. So, it should not be surprising that other animals, especially social mammals, also exhibit homosexual behavior. This "gay gene," if it exists, could very well be as primal and innate as the instinct to survive itself.

For more information on homosexuality, see the trailer below of director Bryce Sage's documentary, The Survival of the Fabulous, originally broadcast in November of 2013 by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

~ "Survival of the Fabulous," on The Nature of Things.

[Updated Insert – Mach 28, 2016: Read the article: "Lesbian Gene Found: Scientists Debate Origin," click here.]


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For related articles in the Frog Blog:
- "Cyrus Prostituted Herself": Creationist Click here.
- Film: The Unbelievers Attacks Religion! Click here.
- World's Oldest Man Breaks Records Click here.
- GOP Rep. Calls Evolution & Big Bang Lies Click here.
- New World Record For Smallest Woman Click here.

2 comments:

  1. There is no “gay” gene or “straight” gene. This is not to say that it is a ‘choice,’ because most would choose the status quo. But the title of this article is completely misleading. Even the researchers admit that the percentage is low. The mere fact that the gene is not found in 100% of gays proves that genetics are not the sole factor. In fact most behavioral genetics are complex interactions of environment, genes, and psychology. There are indeed psychological reasons why someone will become attached sexually to the same-sex… just as being molested at an early age or having certain unique experiences as a child will tend to create different attractions in that person when they get older. Behavioral genetics don’t speak. We can only guess what they do. For example, these genes could have an affect on temperament (like sensitivity, strong fears of abandonment or attachment, or feminine traits, etc.).

    Kinsey did the best research on the subject and the conclusion was solid… humans are innately bisexual and we fall on a sexual continuum. Many people are indeed bisexual. Many people are solely gay, solely straight, or fall somewhere in between both extremes. The problem is that new studies have a bias toward the selection of overtly gay respondents, a minority of all homosexuals. It’s difficult to study the millions of self-proclaimed straight people w/ hints of homosexual behavior or feelings because this huge unnoticed population will feel shame and humiliation to enter these studies. You will only read their stories on the internet where they feel safe. And another large portion will not even write about it on the internet. Some are in therapist offices right now talking about the phenomenon.

    These false genetic studies are, for the most part, political ploys aimed at reducing homophobia by putting LGBT people into a minority category. The same goes for the hormonal studies.

    Exclusive homosexual activity in animals is quite rare.. we see more bisexual behavior (and in many cases such as dogs, you’ll see some dominance/mounting of same-sex), but homosexuality is extremely common in humans. The reason for this points at psycho-social factors playing the biggest role. This doesn’t sit well with many people because gays are fighting for their rights (which they should), and it would be much easier to just say that homosexuality is innate. The good news for them is that it still isn’t a ‘choice’ the way fanatical religious groups want to portrait it. Just as nobody chooses to have ADHD or shyness. However, it is also true that many people can learn to have a bisexual lifestyle if they so desire to work on exploring that other side.



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    1. Thanks for your essay. I’ve read it carefully. It is well-written and well-thought out. And yes, FrogBook.com’s headlines can sometimes be quite eye-catching but the text itself may occasionally contain a few twists and turns!

      In regard to Alfred Kinsey’s research, it has its flaws. While the samples he used for his research were extremely large, they were mostly not random (1948 for males). The field of statistics was not yet well understood at the time. For example, the polls in 1948 all predicted that Thomas Dewey would win the presidential election over Harry Truman. Some newspapers even printed it as their headline the night before. This was because the pollsters’ samples were not RANDOM. So, people who participated in Kinsey’s surveys might NOT be representative of the general population. Therefore, I’m not sure your assertion about modern research is correct. I trust the best and most-noted papers published in modern times do indeed use random samples as well as being double-blind.

      But Kinsey’s research did expose the fact that human bisexuality, or what he called ambisexuality, is an innate part all human beings. However, if ambisexuality is such a powerful force in human nature, then why is conversion therapy such an unadulterated disaster? You would think vigorous psychological conditioning would be able to neutralize at least some of the “social causes” that you have proposed about homosexuality.

      Is there a biological. if not genetic, correlation with something as subtle as “taste?” For example, people who have a favorite food tend to have relatives that have the same favorite food (also, please review the article about homosexual men and their maternal female relatives). However, this does not mean that they are unable to eat other foods or even find them distasteful. It simply means that they are more happy, more “whole,” if they are able to enjoy their favorite food more often. Same with sexuality. Many gay men can have sex with women and enjoy it. But they are more complete, more happy and content, as a human being if they have a male partner. This is not independent of human physiology.

      A society who’s people are fully self-actualized is a society that is at its zenith.

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