Moms' Genetics Might Help Produce Gay Sons

by truthseeker 16 Replies latest jw friends

  • truthseeker

    I thought this article was very interesting and seems to indicate that homosexuality is something inherent.

    I tend to agree with this, but also believe that people can be introduced to the lifestyle either through curiosity or environment.

    Moms' Genetics Might Help Produce Gay Sons

    By Randy Dotinga
    HealthDay Reporter Tue Feb 21, 11:52 PM ET

    TUESDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) -- New research adds a twist to the debate on the origins of sexual orientation, suggesting that the genetics of mothers of multiple gay sons act differently than those of other women.

    Scientists found that almost one fourth of the mothers who had more than one gay son processed X chromosomes in their bodies in the same way. Normally, women randomly process the chromosomes in one of two ways -- half go one way, half go the other.

    The research "confirms that there is a strong genetic basis for sexual orientation, and that for some gay men, genes on the X chromosome are involved," said study co-author Sven Bocklandt, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles.

    The link between genetics and sexual orientation has been a hot topic for more than a decade as a few scientists have tried to find genes that might make people gay or straight. In the new study, Bocklandt and colleagues examined a phenomenon called "X-chromosome inactivation."

    While females have two X chromosomes, they actually require only one and routinely inactivate the other, Bocklandt said. "That way, both men and women have basically one functional X chromosome," he added. Men have both an X and Y chromosome, but the Y chromosome plays a much smaller role, he said.

    Women typically inactivate one of their two X chromosomes at random. "It's like flipping a coin," Bocklandt said. "If you look at a woman in any given (bodily) tissue, you'd expect about half of the cells to inactivate one X, and half would inactivate the other."

    In the new study, researchers looked at 97 mothers of gay sons and 103 mothers without gay sons to see if there was any difference in how they handled their X chromosomes. The findings appear in the February issue of the journal Human Genetics.

    "When we looked at women who have gay kids, in those with more than one gay son, we saw a quarter of them inactivate the same X in virtually every cell we checked," Bocklandt said. "That's extremely unusual."

    Forty-four of the women had more than one gay son.

    In contrast, 4 percent of mothers with no gay sons activated the chromosome and 13 percent of those with just one gay son did.

    The phenomenon of being more likely to inactivate one X chromosome -- known as "extreme skewing" -- is typically seen only in families that have major genetic irregularities, Bocklandt said.

    What does this all mean? The researchers aren't sure, but Bocklandt thinks he and his colleagues are moving closer to understanding the origins of sexual orientation.

    "What's really remarkable and very novel about this is that you see something in the bodies of women that is linked to a behavioral trait in their sons," he said. "That's new, that's unheard of."

    Still, there are caveats. Dr. Ionel Sandovici, a genetics researcher at The Babraham Institute in Cambridge, England, pointed out that most of the mothers of multiple gay sons didn't share the unusual X-chromosome trait. And the study itself is small, which means more research will need to be done to confirm its findings, Sandovici said.

    Ultimately, Sandovici added, the origins of sexual orientation remain "rather a complicated biological puzzle."

    And this line of research does have its critics. Some have worried that, in the future, manipulation of a "gay gene" or genes might be used as a method of preventing homosexuality in utero, or perhaps even after. But Bocklandt said these kinds of fears shouldn't stand in the way of legitimate scientific research.

    "We're trying to understand one of the most critical human traits: the ability to love and be attracted to others. Without sexual reproduction we would not exist, and sexual selection played an essential role in evolution," he said. "Yet, we have no idea how it works, and that's what we're trying to find out. As with any research, the knowledge you acquire could be used for benefit or harm. But if [scientists] would have avoided research because we were afraid of what we were going to find, then we would still be living in the stone age."

  • Bstndance

    Genetics can be very interesting. I really don't know where my homosexuality came from. My mother is the only girl out of 12 children. I would assume all of her brothers are hetrosexual (married with kids) but that always isn't conclusive evidence that someone's hetro. I have two brothers, both are hetro.

    As far as environmental factors. We lived in the middle of Connecticut. No gay scene there. The funny thing is that I know of 5 people in my graduating class of 80 that turned out to be gay/lesbian. We had a chemical plant in town so there's a running joke that there was something in the water.

  • anewme

    About ten years ago I read in our local paper about research being done by a doctor on this very subject.
    The discussion was about the very likely possibility of genetics and environement gone awry playing a big factor in male homosexuality. If this turns out to be the case then society is under obligation to review its harsh criticism of homosexuality and instead master compassion and enact laws to protect and foster the lives of these citizens.

  • joelbear

    if someone is curious then they are already of that orientation.

    if it was something in the environment then by now someone would have discovered what that commonality was. i have talked with 1000's of gay men over the years and there is nothing significantly similar in a significant number of cases to show any commonality. poor rich, one parent two parent, raised by grandparents, orphans, abused, not abused close to their dad, not close to their dad. etc.

    and would someone please describe the gay lifestyle to me? and also, then, what is the straight lifestyle?

  • anewme

    The environment I spoke of is the early developmental environment influenced by estrogen hormones in the woman's body or breast milk, foods, water, vaccines, pesticides etc. which could have a huge impact on the delicate system of a fetus or baby boy in the event that the x chromosome must be "overshadowed" by the Y
    In some cases, it was theorized that the Y was overshadowed by environmental influences.

  • Bstndance
    In some cases, it was theorized that the Y was overshadowed by environmental influences.

    If this was the case, how would you explain lesbians.

    I always wonder why truthseeker is always posting stuff about homosexuality on this board. It's always interesting when someone takes more interest in the topic who is not directly effected than someone who is.

    Fred Phelps is like that. Makes me wonder about him. The guy is a total nutcase. His recent sermons say that god is killing soldiers in Iraq because our nation harbors homosexuals. HAHAHA! He probably would be shocked to see how much he and the extremist muslims have in common.

  • littlerockguy
    I always wonder why truthseeker is always posting stuff about homosexuality on this board. It's always interesting when someone takes more interest in the topic who is not directly effected than someone who is.


    I was thinking the exact same thing. Truthseeker, and BlessedStar or Hibi or posters who post under the same IP address with different user names, if you look at their post history they seem to have homosexuality on their minds more than I do.


    When did you tend to agree that homosexuality could be caused by genetics? Last question you posed to me was "what about "the power beyond what is normal"?" I guess the almight God didn't think I deserved to be cured of my homosexuality through holy spirit.

    What are your thoughts on people with both sex organs, would they be considered gay if they do or gay if they dont if they have sex with someone who only has one sex organ?

  • serendipity

    Great, blame the mother.

  • truthseeker

    Bstndance (what does that username mean by the way) and others,

    I post under ONE username, I can't speak for the others.

    It was a non-flammatory post, I didn't write anything negative, why do you always take it that way?

    I think you guys haven't yet shed your JW persecution complex.

  • truthseeker

    Now, I'll answer LittleRock's question, because it is worthy....

    By observing homosexuals, in particular a friend of mine - they seem more feminine and they're not trying to be that way. I think it is more genetic than learned.

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