RE: Is there a gay gene?

From: Freeman, Louise Margaret (
Date: Sun May 12 2002 - 20:52:58 EDT

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    > We need to make a distinction between a "genetic" condition, one
    >(in whole or part) is due to coding in the DNA, & a condition that someone is
    >"born with" in the sense that it is caused by environmental factors _in
    >or (by extension) at a very early age. Cystic fibrosis is an example of the
    >first, fetal alcohol syndrome of the second.
    > I believe (though I am subject to correction) that the
    >putative evidence
    >for a "gay gene" has gone away.

    While it is true that some labs have failed to replicate the work of Hamer
    (whose linkage studies identified the first specific allele to be associated
    with male homosexuality, on the X chromosome as I recall) there is still a lot
    of evidence (twin studies, familial lineages, etc) that suggest a gene or more
    likely genes that predispose an individual to homosexuality. So while
    evidence for a *specific* gay gene has been challeged, I wouldn't say it has
    "gone away."
    As for the idea of *some* genetic relationship to homosexuality, I have rarely
    seen that disputed by any reliable expert in the field of behavioral genetics.
      If anyone can provide me with a peer-reviewed reference that says otherwise,
    I would be most obliged.

    >In any case that would have
    >suggested a genetic
    >link only for male homosexuality.

    It is true that there is stronger evidence for a genetic link to male
    homosexuality that to lesbiansm.

    > But even if there is no genetic basis for
    >homosexuality, there seems good reason to believe that homosexual
    >orientation is
    >formed at a very early age & is not simply chosen.

    One likely contributor to sexual orientation is exposure to testosterone in
    utero, something that could itself be affected by a variety of genetic and
    enironmental factors, including sharing a womb with a twin brother and how
    many males the mother has given to in previous pregnancies. So, while not
    exactly a genetic cause, that contributiong factor, at least is something
    completely beyond the individual's (or their parent's) control.

    > In any case homosexual genital activity does not necessarily
    >follow from
    >homosexual orientation, any more than heterosexual activity necessarily
    >from heterosexual orientation or drinking from being an alcohol.

    Quite right. I give a female lab rat a dose of testosterone as a pup, and
    when she grows up she'll mate with other females, not males. She has no
    choice but to follow her biologically based tendency People do. If someone
    has a biologically based tendency to kill people, or molest children, there is
    little doubt that God wants us to use our free will to repress those urges.
    However, it used to be thought that God wanted left-handed children to repress
    that urge and write with their right hand, and good Christian teachers had
    little hesitation about using a combination of scripture and ruler whacks to
    "treat" that behavior. Thankfully, most Christians have turned away from that

    Question is, is a homosexual relationship that follows the other scriptural
    guidelines for heterosexual relationships (Patient, kind, not jealous or slow
    to anger, monogamous, chaste until marriage (tho we'd have to let them marry
    to enforce that rule, right? OK, chaste until they move to Vermont and get a
    civil union) etc.) in the category of "child molestation" or "lefthandedness"
    in terms of being against God's will?

    Louise, behavioral neuroendocrinologist who hasn't made up her mind on this
    issue yet.

    >George L. Murphy
    >"The Science-Theology Interface"

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