Robert Dominic Ventre II
It seems as though the fabled “gay gene” may, in fact, be a part of reality.
Researchers from Chicago University have undertaken the as-of-yet unpublished study in an attempt to determine whether or not sexual orientation is something that can be chosen, or if it is simply a product of our genetic makeup.
by British newspaper the Guardian
, Illinois' Northwestern University psychologist Michael Bailey has remarked:
"The study shows that there are genes involved in male sexual orientation,"
Bailey presented his group's findings at a discussion held during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago. He claimed that his study was able to confirm findings from a smaller study which took place in 1993 and stated that
many homosexual men inherit the 'gay gene' from their mother's side, which influences their sexual orientation. The study also went on to claim that more than 10 percent of brothers of gay men were homosexual themselves, as opposed to roughly 3 percent of the general population.
As reported by U.K. news outlet the Telegraph,
no such evidence linking female homosexuality to genetics has been found. Per Cornell University social psychologist Daryl Bem:
"Nobody has found something like this in women,"
The 1993 study's lead author Dean Hamer, who acts as chief of the cancer institute's Section on Gene Structure and Regulation, had this to say regarding his findings
, mirroring what Michael Bailey would put forth over two decades later;
"Being gay is not simply a choice or purely a decision. People have no control over the genes they inherit and there is no way to change them,''
In the current study, Bailey states, "We found evidence for two sets [of genes] that affect whether a man is gay or straight.”
But this is not the entire story, as Bailey went on to reveal, “... it is not completely determinative; there are certainly other environmental factors involved."
Dr. Alan Sanders, an associate Professor of Psychiatry at Northwestern University and leader of the study, expanded on Bailey's point:
“We don’t think genetics is the whole story. It’s not. We have a gene that contributes to homosexuality but you could say it is linked to heterosexuality. It is the variation.”
Other theories also play a part in the speculation:
Cornell's Daryl Bem believes that “the influence of biological factors on sexual orientation may be mediated by experiences in childhood. A child’s temperament predisposes the child to prefer certain activities over others”
, as reported by the Telegraph
on February 13th
Researchers from the University of California have also posited that homosexuality can be determined by the presence of epi-marks, which act as temporary switches that control how genes are expressed during gestation and after being birthed.
In light of this new information, Bailey was quick to clarify issues
regarding whether or not homosexuality is a “choice” or an entirely-learned behavior:
“Don’t confuse “environmental” with “socially acquired.” Environment means anything that is not in our DNA at birth, and that includes a lot of stuff that is not social.”
As pointed out by Reissa Su of International Business Times
, the outcome of this study, “... could also pave the way for discrimination against homosexuals. Insurance companies could require genetic tests to determine if their clients are gay. Genetic tests could also be used by pregnant women for selective abortion if they don't want to have "gay babies."”
In response to these concerns, Bailey stated that he would not object to tests to determine a child's potential sexuality, but that parents should not be allowed to abort said child based on a genetic link to homosexuality.
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