How our genes could make us gay or straight

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jkcerda

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Gay men were divided: The finding vindicated the oft-repeated claims that “I was born this way” but also opened frightening new possibilities for detection and discrimination.

Similar studies gave contradictory results. A later search found associations with genes on three other chromosomes.

This year, a larger study of gay brothers, using the many genetic markers now available through the Human Genome Project, confirmed the original finding and also detected another “gay gene” on chromosome 8. This has unleashed a new flurry of comment.

But why such a furor when we know of gay gene variants in species from flies to mammals? Homosexuality is quite common throughout the animal kingdom. For instance, there are variants that influence mating preference in mice, and a mutation in the fruit fly makes males court other males instead of females.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/06/04/the-science-of-sexuality-how-our-genes-make-us-gay-or-straight/?tid=sm_fb

pretty interesting, would you want to find out if your son/daughter was going to be born with the gene?
 

Huntn

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Designer babies just around the corner! :p The religious right seems to be so negative about dna/gene stuff, as far as intervening in God's plan. I wonder how they feel about this?

The real issue philosophical/moral issue is how would individuals choose if they could? It's an academic question. If you are gay or straight, would you choose to be gay or straight? You are who you are, you have lead the life you have led. The situation is you don't have an option to choose, should your parents choose for you? I think most people believe that eliminating genetic diseases is a good thing as long as there are not unintended consequences. This seems like a social hot potato.
 

Shrink

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Feb 26, 2011
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While I'm not questioning the study (as I have not read the primary source), I think we are, once again, desperately trying to conveniently simplify the enormously complex topic of human sexuality.

Just a question...why does it matter, for practical purposes, how we got how we are in terms of affectional preference
 

APlotdevice

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Sep 3, 2011
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Haven't there been cases of identical twins having different sexual orientation?
The twin test suggests that epigenetics could play a factor. Basically the environmental conditions in the womb can affect certain genes, causing them to turn on or off without any actual change in the Chromosome. (And we know that the conditions for each twin are NOT exactly the same.)
 

Huntn

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Haven't there been cases of identical twins having different sexual orientation?
Studying Twins to Learn Genetics

Some of the best evidence that homosexuality has a strong genetic part comes from twin studies. These studies are useful because they let scientists tease apart how much of a trait is influenced by genetics and how much is influenced by the environment.

They do this by comparing identical twins, who share the same DNA sequence, and fraternal twins, who are only about 50% related (as much as siblings). If a trait were completely genetic, then we’d expect identical twins to always be the same with regard to that trait.

This is true for simpler, genetic traits like eye color. If one identical twin has blue eyes, then the other one will have blue most of the time too.

But if a trait is mostly due to environment, then two identical twins would be just as likely to share the trait as two fraternal twins. Having the same DNA won’t matter because it doesn’t play a big role in that trait.

Tongue rolling is like this. If your twin can roll his or her tongue, it doesn’t really affect your chances. This seems to be pretty independent of genes.

So, if a certain trait happens more often between both twins in an identical twin pair compared to both twins in a fraternal pair, then genetics probably plays some role in that trait. This is because both fraternal and identical twins are born and raised in similar environments, so any differences seen between them are most likely due to their DNA.

Twin studies of homosexuality have shown that identical twins are about twice as likely to both be gay compared to fraternal twins. This means that being gay is partly genetic and not simply something that a person learns or chooses to be.

There is one important thing to note, though. If the DNA sequence is the only thing determining whether someone is gay or not, we would expect that if one identical twin were gay, then the other would be too 100% of the time.

But this is not what scientists have found – the rate is actually closer to 50%. So while we know that genetics is involved, it doesn’t tell us the whole story. This is where environment comes in.
(link)
 

yg17

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Finding a "gay gene" could create quite the Christian Conundrum - do you abort a fetus that's going to grow up to be gay?
 

shinji

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Just a question...why does it matter, for practical purposes, how we got how we are in terms of affectional preference
It might lead to religious conservatives relaxing their stance on abortion.

:eek:
 

VulchR

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I have to say I wish people would leave behind the naive one-gene-one-behaviour theories in which a gene (or a small set of genes) completely determines an aspect of behaviour. Genes encode proteins, but this process is subject to so many feedback and feed-forward mechanisms that differ according to cell type that trying to understand whole-organism behaviour from genes is harder than trying to predict the weather. Indeed the relationships among proteins in different cell types and some behaviours might be so complex that there simply aren't enough human beings to test adequately hypotheses about how genes influence a given behaviour.

I have to say as a neuroscientist it really pisses me off that so much money and attention is going into gene studies at the expense of whole-organism systems-level research. The people who push gene research promise to cure and explain everything and so far they haven't delivered. I doubt they ever will.

In any case, I'm straight and I can remember my first sexual attraction to a girl. I do not recall making a choice. I am sure homosexual people are just as capable of recalling and interpreting their past. If they say they did not make a decision – just like every heterosexual person I know – then that it sufficient evidence. Anything having to do with genes is irrelevant.

As for having knowledge about whether a fetus might turn out to be homosexual, I could not care less.
 

VulchR

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That apathy is how governments could use technology like this to make a Gattaca style of world that would target the"homosexual gene". Even as a straight man I find this pseudoscience disturbing!
Obviously I would oppose any attempt be a government to lessen the diversity in the human genome, but any attempt at eugenics to control behaviour will fail. There are easier, effective ways of controlling human behaviour (armed coercion, controlling the media, etc.).
 

lannister80

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Apr 7, 2009
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Existing at all...
Please tell me you're trying to make a joke here.
Babies are aborted all the time just for having come into existence.
Apparently I needed to bold part of my question:

What "lesser" traits than being gay would cause a baby to be aborted that otherwise wouldn't be?
People about babies with no known problems because they don't want a child, this is absolutely true. What I'm saying is that I believe very very few people would get pregnant, plan on having the child, and then only abort when they discovered the child will be gay.
 

The Doctor11

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Dec 15, 2013
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Um... Doesn't seen practical to me. But whatever it really doesn't matter. I really think people over react to people being gay. Honestly I think people should really not care if people are gay or not. They are just like everyone else.
 

SLC Flyfishing

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Nov 19, 2007
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Apparently I needed to bold part of my question:



People about babies with no known problems because they don't want a child, this is absolutely true. What I'm saying is that I believe very very few people would get pregnant, plan on having the child, and then only abort when they discovered the child will be gay.
I think you may be surprised.

If people will abort for convenience, people will abort for this.

And I will still speak out against the practice.
 

Technarchy

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May 21, 2012
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People about babies with no known problems because they don't want a child, this is absolutely true. What I'm saying is that I believe very very few people would get pregnant, plan on having the child, and then only abort when they discovered the child will be gay.
People already abort for way less. If they found a gay gene tomorrow and offered free DNA tests, the gay population would be eradicated into damn near extinction within a generation.

You would see one of the largest eugenics endeavors in the history of man.

Heterosexual couples tolerate and/or accept their living gay children. Few plan on having them. Less would want them if there was a real preventive measure.

I'm only pro-abortion within the first 8 weeks or so, after that, no joy. I would be consistent with this for all babies. Gay, straight, whatever.
 

satcomer

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Feb 19, 2008
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Oh really? What "lesser" traits than being gay would cause a baby to be aborted that otherwise wouldn't be? China/India/Gender excluded.

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What's "pseudo" about this science?
Because my spider sense is telling me this is a religious right crusade. These people want to push their hatred of homosexuals is well known.
 

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