Moms' Genetics Might Help Produce Gay Sons 20 replies

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#1 12 years ago

TUESDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) -- New research adds a twist to the debate on the origins of sexual orientation, suggesting that the genetics of mothers of multiple gay sons act differently than those of other women.

Scientists found that almost one fourth of the mothers who had more than one gay son processed X chromosomes in their bodies in the same way. Normally, women randomly process the chromosomes in one of two ways -- half go one way, half go the other.

The research "confirms that there is a strong genetic basis for sexual orientation, and that for some gay men, genes on the X chromosome are involved," said study co-author Sven Bocklandt, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles.

The link between genetics and sexual orientation has been a hot topic for more than a decade as a few scientists have tried to find genes that might make people gay or straight. In the new study, Bocklandt and colleagues examined a phenomenon called "X-chromosome inactivation."

While females have two X chromosomes, they actually require only one and routinely inactivate the other, Bocklandt said. "That way, both men and women have basically one functional X chromosome," he added. Men have both an X and Y chromosome, but the Y chromosome plays a much smaller role, he said.

Women typically inactivate one of their two X chromosomes at random. "It's like flipping a coin," Bocklandt said. "If you look at a woman in any given (bodily) tissue, you'd expect about half of the cells to inactivate one X, and half would inactivate the other."

In the new study, researchers looked at 97 mothers of gay sons and 103 mothers without gay sons to see if there was any difference in how they handled their X chromosomes. The findings appear in the February issue of the journal Human Genetics.

"When we looked at women who have gay kids, in those with more than one gay son, we saw a quarter of them inactivate the same X in virtually every cell we checked," Bocklandt said. "That's extremely unusual."

Forty-four of the women had more than one gay son.

In contrast, 4 percent of mothers with no gay sons activated the chromosome and 13 percent of those with just one gay son did.

The phenomenon of being more likely to inactivate one X chromosome -- known as "extreme skewing" -- is typically seen only in families that have major genetic irregularities, Bocklandt said.

What does this all mean? The researchers aren't sure, but Bocklandt thinks he and his colleagues are moving closer to understanding the origins of sexual orientation.

"What's really remarkable and very novel about this is that you see something in the bodies of women that is linked to a behavioral trait in their sons," he said. "That's new, that's unheard of."

Still, there are caveats. Dr. Ionel Sandovici, a genetics researcher at The Babraham Institute in Cambridge, England, pointed out that most of the mothers of multiple gay sons didn't share the unusual X-chromosome trait. And the study itself is small, which means more research will need to be done to confirm its findings, Sandovici said.

Ultimately, Sandovici added, the origins of sexual orientation remain "rather a complicated biological puzzle."

And this line of research does have its critics. Some have worried that, in the future, manipulation of a "gay gene" or genes might be used as a method of preventing homosexuality in utero, or perhaps even after. But Bocklandt said these kinds of fears shouldn't stand in the way of legitimate scientific research.

"We're trying to understand one of the most critical human traits: the ability to love and be attracted to others. Without sexual reproduction we would not exist, and sexual selection played an essential role in evolution," he said. "Yet, we have no idea how it works, and that's what we're trying to find out. As with any research, the knowledge you acquire could be used for benefit or harm. But if [scientists] would have avoided research because we were afraid of what we were going to find, then we would still be living in the stone age."

So there might be a gay gene after all. Seems logical enough with the "X-chromosome inactivation". :lookaround:

I would like to see what this revelation brings in 10+ years. Interesting to say the least. :nodding:




WarHawk109

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#2 12 years ago

I bet those researchers are gay themselves.




Tas

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#3 12 years ago

That is interesting, then again it could all be rubbish, i wonder how it turns out.




Guns4Hire

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#4 12 years ago
WarHawk109I bet those researchers are gay themselves.

Why would you say that?

Some have worried that, in the future, manipulation of a "gay gene" or genes might be used as a method of preventing homosexuality in utero, or perhaps even after.

I love science :)

So there might be a gay gene after all

Of course there IS. You didn't think they just choose to be gay, did you? Gay gene, brain disorder. Call it what you want but it just ain't a choice a person makes. There is something not right going on and if science can cure this it would be a great step.




Locomotor

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#5 12 years ago

Curing inherent homosexuality would sure be great... Although it won't happen. The normalization of "gays" has advanced too much into our culture. The left would chastize anyone who got near anything that might threaten the movement. Which is really too bad.




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#6 12 years ago

I don't see why you guys have a problem with homosexuals. I have several gay friends and they don't make passes at me or touch my ass. They carry on normal conversations and don't really tout their "gayness" at all. And what is really scary is that you want to eliminate a gene that naturally occurs. You are morally against stem cell research, yet you want to alter a gene that occurs naturally? A little hypocritical, eh?




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#7 12 years ago
JeffroI don't see why you guys have a problem with homosexuals. I have several gay friends and they don't make passes at me or touch my ass. They carry on normal conversations and don't really tout their "gayness" at all. And what is really scary is that you want to eliminate a gene that naturally occurs. You are morally against stem cell research, yet you want to alter a gene that occurs naturally? A little hypocritical, eh?

I have nothing against homos, (although I still think what they do in the bedroom is nastay. But that is another thread) but you have to admit it is far from normal. (do not attempt to describe and deface the word) I also have nothing against stem cell research. I don't agree with everything. All I am saying is if they can eliminate the gene that causes homosexuality that would be one hell of a breakthrough. Could all be rubbish who knows. We'll see.




Inyri Forge VIP Member

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#8 12 years ago

So what about lesbians?

Somehow I doubt there's actually a gene for homosexuality. A gene for femininity in males, quite certainly. I'd be more apt to believe a genetic change in a mother's behavior is what causes homosexuality in her sons.

Still... what about lesbians? Did they just forget in this study that not only men can be gay? Doesn't sound like a very good study to me :lol:




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#9 12 years ago

Inyri ForgeSo what about lesbians?

We all know nobody can figure out a straight woman as it is, so they went for the easy one first ;)




Locomotor

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#10 12 years ago
Originally posted by Beef Flaps you have to admit it is far from normal.

It is far from normal.

Originally posted by Jeffro And what is really scary is that you want to eliminate a gene that naturally occurs.

Cancer is also "natural". (For the most part) Jeffro, I have nothing against homosexuality in general. (I do on a personal and moral level, of course, but that's irrelevant.) Homosexual sodomy wasn't outlawed in whatever year, all sodomy was. It was viewed as criminal sexual conduct because it is extremely damaging to the rectum. As I always say "The rectum is a one-way oriface!". Since it is legal now (Although I don't think it had any place in the Supreme Court), I could care less if a man wants to stick his penis into another man's shithole. Anyway. That's not what I'm against. I'm against the gay movement in general and all this "normalization" BS.

Originally posted by Inyri Forge Somehow I doubt there's actually a gene for homosexuality. A gene for femininity in males, quite certainly. I'd be more apt to believe a genetic change in a mother's behavior is what causes homosexuality in her sons.

Agreed. A male-dominated family is the way to go.