LOCKING IN ON THE GAY GENE.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 20, 2007 5:03 AM GMT
    As the title suggests, i am curious to know how many of you believe in a gay gene. If at all it is present, what do you propose its phenotype is, or put in other words, what traits in gay men do you consider an expression of the gay gene.

    I'll start:
    A lot of gay men have fang-like canines. I personally like mine; they make my smile adorable.
  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    Aug 20, 2007 7:57 AM GMT
    Gay guys walk with a little swing or twist up his ass. Just like me. Some think its sexy, some think is feminine. There nothing I can do about it so I have to live with it

    But why not, nothing more flaterring that some guys looking at my ass.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 20, 2007 10:18 AM GMT
    Not all gay guys walk that way... I dont..

    And you can change a person's gait through gait training.... You can disect a person gait to the tiniest details and train them to walk differently. PT's and biomechanists do it all the time. And this applies even to amputees...
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11648

    Aug 20, 2007 10:26 AM GMT
    I personally think that its an in utero hormonal influence that causes homosexuality rather than a true genotypic difference
    ...there was a study that suggested that a flood of estrogen at a crucial time during brain developement typically caused a male baby to be homosexual
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    Aug 20, 2007 10:30 AM GMT
    And back to the topic...

    I amnot sure if homosexuality is a single factorial phenomenon... I am not sure if it is purely geneotypic...

    If it is purely genotypic, as you know from biology, just because there is one or multiple commonality genotypically, there are many other factors that influence the final phenotypic appearance (both internal and external phenotypic charateristics.) It can be effects of other genes, or body chemsitry via interal endocrine factors or external enviromental elements affecting the expression of one gene over another... The posibilities are endless... Just like a genotypic male such as Jamie Curties can be born as a phenotpic female externally and phenotipic male internally, etc, etc...

    A lot of gay men have fang like canines? Where did you get that conclusion....?
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    Aug 20, 2007 12:23 PM GMT

    I think there is probably a genetic link to a predisposition, and I think there is probably a pre birth hormaonal, and nurture influence as well.

    I think that, like many things, the answer is probably complicated and due to several factors.

    Since I believe sexuality is probably a continuum, I also believe that some factors are probably more or less emergent than others at different stages of development, and even in different people.

    Personally I am not sure I see the need for research into what is obviously a naturally occuring biological manifestation of the species.

    R
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    Aug 20, 2007 12:42 PM GMT
    Too many gay people spend too much time thinking about so little.
  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    Aug 20, 2007 1:09 PM GMT
    A lot of gay men have fang like canines? Where did you get that conclusion....?

    NYC,

    Come on, dream lover dont you have a sense of humor.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 20, 2007 2:01 PM GMT
    I like your arguments GQ amd NYC, they are most conclusive. Too bad we can't isolate a gay gene, which leaves homosexuality a reversible trait during a baby's development.
  • thisguy023

    Posts: 204

    Aug 20, 2007 3:00 PM GMT
    I agree with ITjock: homosexuality is probably the result of many variables.

    I disagree with ITjock on his doubts about the need for research: knowledge is good. Let's find out what the explanation is.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 20, 2007 3:29 PM GMT
    http://60minutes.yahoo.com/segment/68/gay_or_straight

    What makes you gay or straight? Is it personal choice or genes or the way you were raised? While science doesn't have definitive answers, there's been some fascinating and oftentimes controversial research that is beginning to provide some clues.

    Yahoo News-60 minutes.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 20, 2007 3:51 PM GMT
    Personally, I think it is purely genotypic. Most of the studies that are anectdotal have enough examples to dismiss phenotypic influence.

    I don't however, believe that there is a 'gay gene'. I think that there is a complex set of variables in the gene sequence that create both varying types and intensities of sexual orientation. They may also be associated with other aspects of the genome, whether they are visibly noticeable aspects of a body or, on the end of the spectrum, chemical (e.g. hormonal) aspects.

    Since there is so much variation in a group of gay men (not to mention women) that any one aspect is not on it's own, sufficient to determine orientation.

    A typical error is lumping gender identitiy and orientation together. There may be some aspects that overlap but that's about it. I'm gay. It's my orientation. I'm also a man, that's my gender identity. I don't ever think about changing my gender. I don't understand it, because it isn't who I am.
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    Aug 20, 2007 3:52 PM GMT
    That's just my opinion, of course.
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Aug 20, 2007 3:59 PM GMT
    I think we've discussed this before.

    Given the current evidence about this particular trait and complex traits in general, here is my view as a biologist.

    No, there is no "gay gene." There are a collection of genes which in aggregate tip you one way or another.

    There is also an effect of in utero environment, which is an effect of hormones, diet, excercise, and genetics of the mother. These also tip you further one way or another.

    There are likely environmental effects as well (dioxins, diet, etc) which FURTHER tip you one way or another.

    Finally there's the psycho-social aspect of your environment. There's increasing evidence that strong social pressures can actually *change gene expression profiles and brain patterns.* And this tips you yet again one way or another.


    Take this in aggregate, and integrate it, and you get your sexuality.

    Sexuality, like most things, is a poly-causal trait. Which is why the genes have been able ot stay in teh gene pool without being wiped out (a discussion I could go into, but this isn't likely the venue for it).

    People on both sides of the issue want ot make it simple. Biology isn't simple. Even simple biology isn't as simple as we often think it is. Everyone needs to learn to accept that.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 20, 2007 4:16 PM GMT

    Thisguy023 -

    I agree that knowledge is generally good; but we haave to ask ourselves why we are seeking the knowledge and to what end.

    What use would the knowledeg be put to except for the possibility that some people could choose to pre determine that their children not be gay?

    I see no other real benefit of the research for the wider population; and I think that such a stance is inherently immoral since it seeks to modify or change a naturally occuring, non debillitating human condition.

    In cases like this I think we should seek to do the least possible harm, or change to what nature has intended for us.

    R
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 20, 2007 5:01 PM GMT
    DiverScience makes a compelling point, however, it doesn't take into account historical evidence.

    Since the three areas of impact beyond a complex genetic structure that you brought up:
    1.) an effect of in utero environment
    2.) environmental effects as well (dioxins, diet, etc)
    3.) the psycho-social aspect of your environment.

    Since these 3 things have changed wildly over the last several thousand years, it appears that the incidence of being gay is relatively stable. Therefore, the data would suggest these variables as being incidental. Additionally, the psycho-social aspect of it would be more likely to affect whether someone was 'out' or 'closeted' rather than their orientation since it defines cultural acceptability rather than orientation. The environmental effects issue can be discounted by the fact that two people with the exact same diet can turn out to have diametric orientations. Lastly, fraternal twins (and in some cases identical twins) in-utero are exposed to exactly the same environment and can be different orientations.

    Granted these areas may have influence on the orientation in a very subtle way at best, it would still seem that the genetics (again, not one gene - but the complex) determine the orientation. Otherwise, how can you explain the the percentage of people who end up gay being relatively stable over so many thousand years.

    That stability also implies a required biological balance to the species rather than an anomaly. That is just a theory that ought to be looked into more thoroughly. Nature is never that consistent in a mistake.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 20, 2007 5:05 PM GMT
    There are most likely a combination of genetic predispositions and developmental triggers that combine to cause homosexuality.

    It drives me nuts when people refer to a "gay gene" because there really is no such thing, any more than there is a "gene for baldness" or a "gene for breast cancer." To quote Matt Ridley, the outstanding author of the book "Genome" (one of the most enjoyable reads I've ever come across) "Genes do not exist to cause diseases." I think this applies just as well when we paraphase it to add Or conditions. Or variations in sexual orientation.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 20, 2007 5:08 PM GMT
    Calvin Klein invented gay jeans (or was it Jordache?).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 20, 2007 5:58 PM GMT
    OMG I have fang-like canines!!!! lol
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Aug 20, 2007 6:08 PM GMT
    BGcat: Where do you get those numbers? Any reference to gayness over history can essentially be instantly discounted as erroneous wishful thinking since we have no records and if we did they'd be useless. The *concept* of sexuality now is not one that existed a thousand years ago.

    As to the rest:

    In utero environment has changed in some ways and not in others. Women still have varying diets, though how they vary may have changed. Women still have varying numbers of children before or after a gay one.

    Social environment. Yes it will strongly affect the outwardly visibly social aspect more. But there is very good evidence that social behavior changes brain patterns and gene profiles. You can't just wave that away because you don't like it. The fact is that social behavior changes your biology.

    Your diet/environment argument is nonsensical. If I have 7 things pushing me one way and my brother has 7 things pushing him the other but we share the variable of diet, then diet will not overrule the others. It's an integrated system. That doesn't mean environment is inconsequential, just that it's not the single overruling factor.

    Finally, it *can't* be entirely genotypic, because identical twins do not always share orientation.




    But all of that doesn't really matter since the premise you're arguing from is completely unprovable.

    It cannot be entirely genotypic.
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Aug 20, 2007 6:22 PM GMT
    More to the point, we can't get a scientific consensus of the rate of homosexuality *now* or even one on the *existance* of bisexuality, how are we going to canvas a recordless history?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 20, 2007 6:54 PM GMT
    Hmm, I have sharp canine teeth. Does that also make me a vampire?

    BTW, have you ever noticed that a lot of gay guys smile way too hard when posing for profile photos? Those extreme (pained?) smiles are a dead giveaway, IMO.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 20, 2007 7:04 PM GMT
    Let me clarify.

    When I refered to it being genotypic, I refer to the fact that a genetic setup must be there to be gay. I didn't mean to imply that there are no other variable to account for. However, I am saying that the genetic predisposition must be there. If someone is born a perfectly balanced bisexual, then there may be many factors that can push them one way or the other. I don't presuppose that this is a black and white (gay or straight) issue by any means.

    The numbers I refer to are based on extrapolation of historical accounts which are not 'recordless' as you indicate. "we have no records and if we did they'd be useless." Granted, the historical records we have are not without error or colored by the time and culture that they were written in, but every word is not total fiction and even in the case of actual fiction, it is reflective of the time. If gays didn't exist throughout the past, why would there be so many references to them. We didn't suddenly appear in the 60's because of Stonewall. The contributions of many in history has been suppressed by the powers that be. Time has later shown that these people (regardless of race, color, religion, sex etc.) contributed greatly. As time passes, more and more of the past comes to light.

    There has been no time in historical record when gays were not present. They were never in great numbers and never entirely extinct. If you can name someone famous who was gay in any century, they cannot have been the only gay person in the world at that time.

    I didn't claim that what I said was proven. It is theory based on a lot of valid data. I have no doubt that it could be proven wrong as likely it could be proven right. I'll accept the answer when the proof is given.

    I also didn't say that any one condition was an overruling one such as diet. Your putting words in my mouth on that.

    As to "The *concept* of sexuality now is not one that existed a thousand years ago." This is irrelevant. The concept is irrelevant. Sexual attraction is just that regardless of what your concept of it is. You don't even have to have a 'concept' of it for it to happen.

    No amount of 'social behavior' is going to change your DNA. You may be able to damage them with chemicals like LSD or exposure to radiation. Suddenly changing my behavior isn't going to affect my DNA. The only affect social behavior has on DNA is in choosing a parenting mate for offspring. In this case social behavior affects who you choose and therefor the outcome is an effect on DNA.

    Lastly, there are instances of identical twins of different sexes. Rare but true. There's no reason then to think that orientation is any different.


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 20, 2007 7:12 PM GMT

    One thing I forgot to mention that DiverScience was correct about, is that there are environmental factors that can turn genes on and off such as illness and disease but these factors are poorly understood but evident.
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Aug 20, 2007 7:21 PM GMT
    There is no evidence to support your numbers theory. Sure there have always been gay people, or at least men who had sex with men. But there is NO WAY to calculate how many of htem there were.

    Like I said, we can't agree on how many there are NOW. How are we going to extrapolate how many there were in time periods for which there's barely any historical record at all, much less one that would include such information?

    The numbers are not there. Wanting them to be does not make it so. Wild theorizing from completely unscientific data does not make it so.

    Yes, alexander the great had sex with men. So? That doesn't tell us even whether he was gay, much less anything about hte population at large.