Scientists Unlock Puzzle of Why People Are Gay

Atomic Fireball

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Scientists May Have Finally Unlocked Puzzle of Why People Are Gay

Lesbians get it from fathers, gay men from mothers?

By Jason Koebler


Has the riddle of human sexuality finally been cracked? A few scientists think so.​

Scientists may have finally solved the puzzle of what makes a person gay, and how it is passed from parents to their children.

A group of scientists suggested Tuesday that homosexuals get that trait from their opposite-sex parents: A lesbian will almost always get the trait from her father, while a gay man will get the trait from his mother.

The hereditary link of homosexuality has long been established, but scientists knew it was not a strictly genetic link, because there are many pairs of identical twins who have differing sexualities. Scientists from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis say homosexuality seems to have an epigenetic, not a genetic link.

Long thought to have some sort of hereditary link, a group of scientists suggested Tuesday that homosexuality is linked to epi-marks — extra layers of information that control how certain genes are expressed. These epi-marks are usually, but not always, "erased" between generations. In homosexuals, these epi-marks aren't erased — they're passed from father-to-daughter or mother-to-son, explains William Rice, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California Santa Barbara and lead author of the study.


"There is compelling evidence that epi-marks contribute to both the similarity and dissimilarity of family members, and can therefore feasibly contribute to the observed familial inheritance of homosexuality and its low concordance between [identical] twins," Rice notes.

Rice and his team created a mathematical model that explains why homosexuality is passed through epi-marks, not genetics. Evolutionarily speaking, if homosexuality was solely a genetic trait, scientists would expect the trait to eventually disappear because homosexuals wouldn't be expected to reproduce. But because these epi-marks provide an evolutionary advantage for the parents of homosexuals: They protect fathers of homosexuals from underexposure to testosterone and mothers of homosexuals from overexposure to testosterone while they are in gestation.

"These epi-marks protect fathers and mothers from excess or underexposure to testosterone — when they carry over to opposite-sex offspring, it can cause the masculinization of females or the feminization of males," Rice says, which can lead to a child becoming gay. Rice notes that these markers are "highly variable" and that only strong epi-marks will result in a homosexual offspring.

Though scientists have long suspected some sort of genetic link, Rice says studies attempting to explain why people are gay have been few and far between.


"Most mainstream biologists have shied away from studying it because of the social stigma," he says. "It's been swept under the rug, people are still stuck on this idea that it's unnatural. Well there are many examples of homosexuality in nature, it's very common." Homosexual behavior has been observed in black swans, penguins, sheep, and other animals, he says.

Rice's model still needs to be tested on real-life parent-offspring pairs, but he says this epigenetic link makes more sense than any other explanation, and that his team has mapped out a way for other scientists to test their work.

"We've found a story that looks really good," he says. "There's more verification needed, but we point out how we can easily do epigenetic profiles genome-wide. We predict where the epi-marks occur, we just need other studies to look at it empirically. This can be tested and proven within six months. It's easy to test. If it's a bad idea, we can throw it away in short order."

Scientists May Have Finally Unlocked Puzzle of Why People Are Gay
 

Don the Radio Guy

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Why can't it just be what the person likes? It always has to be a gene. I like women with big tits and green eyes. Pretty sure there's no gene for that. Making something "genetic" implies it's something that can be "fixed".
 

SatansCheerledr

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#6
Why can't it just be what the person likes? It always has to be a gene. I like women with big tits and green eyes. Pretty sure there's no gene for that. Making something "genetic" implies it's something that can be "fixed".
Oh Don,

Making it a genetic d/o means it can't be fixed.
 

crippledalbino

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Oh Don,

A genetic defect is encoded into a cells DNA. They are working on cures for them for the same reason there are people working on time travel and teleporters.
Oh, SatansCheerledr, you're hurting your argument with condescension and obvious lack of scientific data. People are absolutely looking at making drastic changes on the DNA level both for diseases (cures) and markers for frivolous stuff like obesity. If being gay is part of the genetic code, I PROMISE you that there will be people researching their fundamentalist christian asses off to try to knock that shit out henceforth and hitherto.
 

mills

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#13
Why can't it just be what the person likes? It always has to be a gene. I like women with big tits and green eyes. Pretty sure there's no gene for that. Making something "genetic" implies it's something that can be "fixed".
DTT: Keeping up the quota of one ass-backwardness per sentence.
 
Dec 12, 2007
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#14
Mothers make gay boys and fathers make gay girls...... I thought we already knew that on some level.
 

Don the Radio Guy

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Oh, SatansCheerledr, you're hurting your argument with condescension and obvious lack of scientific data. People are absolutely looking at making drastic changes on the DNA level both for diseases (cures) and markers for frivolous stuff like obesity. If being gay is part of the genetic code, I PROMISE you that there will be people researching their fundamentalist christian asses off to try to knock that shit out henceforth and hitherto.
Someone gets it.
 

mills

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#16
Oh, SatansCheerledr, you're hurting your argument with condescension and obvious lack of scientific data. People are absolutely looking at making drastic changes on the DNA level both for diseases (cures) and markers for frivolous stuff like obesity. If being gay is part of the genetic code, I PROMISE you that there will be people researching their fundamentalist christian asses off to try to knock that shit out henceforth and hitherto.
I still don't get why no one bothers looking into gametogenic recombination as the explanation for homosexuality. It explains it almost flawlessly, and yet there is virtually no literature addressing it. Thousands of tiny chunks of X trade places with chunks of Y in every human being ever born. I'm not saying it's THE obvious answer, but you'd think they'd throw a few million in grants into that before fucking epi-marks.
 

fletcher

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How do you really know for sure your not gay until you suck a cock and don't enjoy it? I know 100% I'm not gay. Do you?
So you are 100% straight because you have sucked dick before but didnt like it and I might not be straight because I havent sucked dick and have no desire to? Let me double check where this falls on the Kinsey scale...
 

SatansCheerledr

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#20
Oh, SatansCheerledr, you're hurting your argument with condescension and obvious lack of scientific data. People are absolutely looking at making drastic changes on the DNA level both for diseases (cures) and markers for frivolous stuff like obesity. If being gay is part of the genetic code, I PROMISE you that there will be people researching their fundamentalist christian asses off to try to knock that shit out henceforth and hitherto.
You misunderstand me. I'm not saying there is no merit to working on time travel or teleporters. All research is valuable and can lead to all sorts of secondary discoveries and applications. My point is that it is research on something that is currently impossible. Just because it is currently impossible doesn't mean people shouldn't try. Nor that it always will be.

None the less, Don's statement, "Making something "genetic" implies it's something that can be "fixed"." is in fact the opposite of what he stated. Making something "genetic" implies it's something that cannot be "fixed" at this current time in scientific progress.
 

SatansCheerledr

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#21
So you are 100% straight because you have sucked dick before but didnt like it and I might not be straight because I havent sucked dick and have no desire to? Let me double check where this falls on the Kinsey scale...
Yea! So I'm callin' you, "Might be a faggot cuz he has no proof he don't like suckin' dick faggot" for now on.
 

fletcher

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#22
Yea! So I'm callin' you, "Might be a faggot cuz he has no proof he don't like suckin' dick faggot" for now on.
Its a tad wordy but still not the worst thing I have been called on this board.