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Group of Scientists Believe They Have Unlocked Hereditary Question of Why People are Gay

A group of scientists from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis say they believe they have the answer to why people are gay, and believe it is an "epigenetic" one linking fathers to lesbian daughters and mothers to gay sons. And they say they can prove whether their theory is right within six months, US News reports:

GenomeLong 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.


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.

Adds Rice: "We've found a story that looks really good. 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."

More here.

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  1. These "so-called" scientists failed the test for authenticity when they concluded that gay equals feminine and lesbian equals masculine.

    Somebody in their research group needs to get out more. Actually, all of them!

    Posted by: BRAINS | Dec 12, 2012 5:04:39 PM

  2. My Father's Father was the second born; and Gay. My Father was the second born, and was Gay; I am the second born and Gay; My second born son was Gay. However, it ends there as he passed away from AIDS.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Dec 12, 2012 8:55:40 PM

  3. And once they have determined exactly where & how these epimarks function, do they intend to "cure" homosexuality by modifying the epimarks or blocking their function?

    Posted by: Sean Westmann | Dec 12, 2012 9:15:35 PM

  4. Reading comprehension trumped by pearl clutching... Yes feminized indeed, try reading a book ladies.

    Posted by: Epic | Dec 13, 2012 1:48:14 AM

  5. This study doesn't even try to unpack why "feminization" or "masculinization" would only work with regard to one's choice of sexual partners. It also doesn't try to make sense of the fact that sexuality is a spectrum, not a dichotomous trait (gay or not gay). I'm also curious how they'll overcome the problem of people who are gay but won't identify as such, or vice versa. The theory they offer is quite flawed, and I doubt the research design is much better.

    Also, I think scientists in the so-called "hard sciences" could take a lesson from social scientists. Whatever you research should not just be interesting and important, but should also have sound policy recommendations that can flow from it. Some might say that knowing if homosexuality is genetic will change the policy discourse, but it won't. People knew that race was a natural trait, and that didn't stop them from owning slaves and trampling all over the civil rights of African Americans for centuries.

    Posted by: Stefan | Dec 13, 2012 8:43:42 AM

  6. This makes me wildly uncomfortable. What happens when parents decide to abort their children because there is a chance they might be gay?

    Posted by: SA | Dec 13, 2012 10:46:19 AM

  7. Jerry6, I'm sorry for your loss.

    Posted by: DW | Dec 13, 2012 5:33:32 PM

  8. Gen 6:4 explais where all birth defect genes come from. Whether being Gay is a defect or part of God's original plan is up for grabs. After all, women were an afterthought and He had to TELL them to "be fruitful and multiply".

    Posted by: Sam Molloy | Dec 13, 2012 5:50:13 PM

  9. at TH,closeted gay men for bisexuals?

    Posted by: meh | Dec 29, 2012 2:53:48 AM

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