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Scientists Change Sexual Orientation of Worms with Gene Alteration


Scientists experimenting on tiny worms called nematodes have found they are able to switch the worms' sexual orientation by altering a gene in the brain.

Via The Globe and Mail: "The study reinforces the notion that sexual orientation is hard-wired in the brain, said Erik Jorgensen, scientific director of the Brain Institute at the University of Utah. 'They look like girls, but act and think like boys,' Utah researcher Jamie White, who worked on the study published in the journal Current Biology, said in a statement. Researchers in Dr. Jorgensen's lab switched on a gene in female worms that makes the body develop male structures, but they only activated the gene in the brain. As a result, the female worms still had female bodies, but they behaved like males."

As Dan Savage at SLOG notes, while more proof that sexual orientation is genetic is definitely welcome, the fact that it can be so easily switched may have the wingnuts rejoicing as well.

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  1. o p.s. i was only poting on this cause i needed a break from assignments from time to time and it was on google news.... so ya i'm done, argue if you want. i think my point is well made + i won't be back on anyway

    Posted by: INPIRATION | Oct 29, 2007 10:57:08 PM

  2. I think everyone is reading WAY too much into an experiment involving a couple of frickin NEMATODES. How do we know they didn't figure out how to make a tranny roundworm instead of a gay roundworm? They've done neither, because its a bloody roundworm! The sense of touch in the tip of your little toe is far more neurologically advanced than the entirety of this creature's brain.
    And to Inspiration (though he states he will not return), the frequency of homosexuality is so high that the likeliness of it being a random genetic defect in each and every homosexual is essentially zero. Furthermore, the term "disorder" does not even apply - my being gay is in no way damaging in and of itself.

    Posted by: scientitian | Oct 30, 2007 12:10:06 AM

  3. "By the way, 334345: you have lost your mind. aborting a child because he/she is straight, when the homosexuals are the ones with the disorder? haha you are sick."

    Well, you think that Gays are sick. I dont. I think that Gays are better for humanity and the planet, and the general survival of mankind. Most heterosexuals are just interested in spreading their genes, and could not care less about the planet. Gays seem to care more about social issues, and matters relating to the well being of humankind. They also tend to waste less materials. That has been my observation, and I am a biased observer given than I am straight. You sound like a bigot, not I. I would preffer my child to be gay any time, especially now that the uncivilized masses are more willing to accept Gay people in their midst.

    Posted by: 334345 | Oct 31, 2007 6:51:36 AM

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