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Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

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Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Old 07-12-10, 09:25 PM
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Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

It's a bit of a dry article but the results have some pretty interesting ramifications on the ongoing debate over the causes of homosexuality.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/...male-mice.html

Gene switches sexual desires of female mice
09 July 2010

A GENE has been discovered that appears to dictate the sexual preferences of female mice. Delete the gene and the modified mice reject the advances of the males and attempt to mate with other females instead.

While it is impossible to say whether the finding has any relevance for human sexuality, it provides a clue as to how sexuality develops in mammals.


Chankyu Park and colleagues at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejon, South Korea, deleted the FucM gene in mouse embryos to see what effect it would have on behaviour.

Female mice lacking the gene avoided the advances of males, stopped sniffing male urine and attempted to mate with other females, though their ability to have pups was unaffected (BMC Genetics, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2156-11-62).

The gene the team deleted is for an enzyme called fucose mutarotase, which adds the sugar fucose to proteins. Park believes that disabling the gene exposes parts of the developing mouse brain linked with sexual preference in adult life to extra oestrogen. The hormone masculinises the brain in mice - though not in people.

In a normal female mouse fetus, this extra oestrogen would be "filtered out" by a substance called alpha-fetoprotein. But AFP only functions properly when adorned with fucose. So without the gene that makes the enzyme, AFP cannot keep the flood of oestrogen at bay.

As a result, the female mouse brain develops as if it were a male. "The mutant female mouse underwent a slightly altered developmental program in the brain to resemble the male brain in terms of sexual preference," says Park.

Supporting the claim, Park's team also report finding lower than usual concentrations of fucose-laden AFP in a female mouse embryo missing the crucial gene.

The results also make sense in light of the experiments in 2006 by Julie Bakker of the University of Liège in Belgium, who found that female mice became masculinised when the gene for AFP was deleted.

Now, Park and his colleagues are hoping to use gene screening studies to find out whether fucose mutarotase has any association with sexual orientation in humans. He admits this research may be "very difficult", partly because it will not be easy to find a suitable number of volunteers.

Simon LeVay, who researches the origins of sexuality, says that the Korean study is not directly relevant to the issue of human sexual orientation. As he points out, it is testosterone not oestrogen that masculinises the human brain, and human AFP doesn't prevent oestrogen from entering the brain as it does in mice.

"Nevertheless, it is probably only a matter of time before molecular geneticists identify genes that influence sexual orientation in humans," says LeVay.
The study also confirms that homosexuals are mutants!!
Old 07-12-10, 10:00 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Gene switches sexual desires of females
Old 07-12-10, 10:01 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Redheads are mutants, too, but for some reason, that never makes the news.
Old 07-12-10, 10:06 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

We're on our way to Gattaca soon enough.
Old 07-12-10, 11:16 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

So those fucking scientists are genetical sexual dictators now?!?!

And people defend science as such a good thing...

Old 07-12-10, 11:16 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Originally Posted by DarkestPhoenix View Post
Finally found a way to eliminate homosexuals from the population! Thanks, science!
Whoa, didn't think of it that way. Interesting point.
Old 07-12-10, 11:17 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

A GENE has been discovered that appears to dictate the sexual preferences of female mice. Delete the gene and the modified mice reject the advances of the males and attempt to mate with other females instead.

Chankyu Park and colleagues at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejon, South Korea, deleted the FucM gene in mouse embryos to see what effect it would have on behaviour.
Well, what did they think was going to happen?
Old 07-13-10, 04:46 AM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
So those fucking scientists are genetical sexual dictators now?!?!

And people defend science as such a good thing...

Careful, don't let the sky hit you as it falls.
Old 07-13-10, 09:13 AM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Whoa, wasn't there a Star Trek episode like this?
Old 07-13-10, 09:19 AM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
So those fucking scientists are genetical sexual dictators now?!?!

And people defend science as such a good thing...


I would have thought proving sexuality is inherent in the individual and not a 'choice' would make the homosexual population thrilled.
Old 07-13-10, 09:20 AM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger View Post
Redheads are mutants, too, but for some reason, that never makes the news.
Gingers have no soul.
Old 07-13-10, 09:25 AM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Originally Posted by suziq999 View Post
I would have thought proving sexuality is inherent in the individual and not a 'choice' would make the homosexual population thrilled.
Things can get messy if we start genetically altering babies for traits we don't like. It goes beyond any Gay issue. See the Gattaca comment.

All that aside, I think this study a good thing for the Gay community because it does more to disprove the argument of anti Gay folks that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice.
Old 07-13-10, 09:42 AM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Simon LeVay, who researches the origins of sexuality
Old 07-13-10, 09:43 AM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
Things can get messy if we start genetically altering babies for traits we don't like. It goes beyond any Gay issue. See the Gattaca comment.

All that aside, I think this study a good thing for the Gay community because it does more to disprove the argument of anti Gay folks that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice.
Of course. Any time "scientists play god" there is a slippery slope. The same criticisms came out when you started being able to tell what gender babies were earlier, development of the atomic bomb, etc... there's always the possibility of people misusing the information. That's not new.

However, silencing all the people who are condemning homosexuals for their "immoral choice"... that is worth the risk I think.
Old 07-13-10, 12:10 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Originally Posted by suziq999 View Post
I would have thought proving sexuality is inherent in the individual and not a 'choice' would make the homosexual population thrilled.
But the people who believe that reject scientific explanations anyway, so this will be just one more rational explanation that they reject because it doesn't fit in with their fantasy-based, bigoted view of the world.
Old 07-13-10, 12:32 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

I don't really have any strong views on gay marriage one way or the other, but I don't see any logic in saying that just because a behavior has a biological basis, then that makes it morally acceptable.

Particularly for you atheists who only believe in a material universe, by definition you believe that every behavior has a natural, biological origin, as you've already defined that as the totality of reality.
Old 07-13-10, 12:44 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Originally Posted by Ky-Fi View Post
I don't really have any strong views on gay marriage one way or the other, but I don't see any logic in saying that just because a behavior has a biological basis, then that makes it morally acceptable.
What is "morally acceptable" is of course up to the individual, but it has little to do with the the legal issues. For years, we've been told that it's acceptable to discriminate against homosexuals because it's a "lifestyle choice", unlike things like race and gender which one is born with.
Old 07-13-10, 12:46 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
What is "morally acceptable" is of course up to the individual, but it has little to do with the the legal issues. For years, we've been told that it's acceptable to discriminate against homosexuals because it's a "lifestyle choice", unlike things like race and gender which one is born with.
Absolutely. Your gender, race and sexual orientation are innate, whereas you need to chose to be a time-traveling, sandwich-stealing bastard.
Old 07-13-10, 12:48 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

I defy you to find any red-blooded American male, gay or straight, who won't turn down a good tuna club.
Old 07-13-10, 12:56 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
What is "morally acceptable" is of course up to the individual, but it has little to do with the the legal issues. For years, we've been told that it's acceptable to discriminate against homosexuals because it's a "lifestyle choice", unlike things like race and gender which one is born with.
True, but there's a whole slew of things, from drug and alcohol addiction, predisposition to violence, pedophelia, promiscuity, obesity, etc., that possibly/probably have a biological basis which is stronger in some individuals than others. Does that mean that society can't discriminate in any way against people who act on these inclinations? I'm not arguing that it's okay to discriminate against gays---I'm just saying that I don't find the "biological basis" argument that compelling.
Old 07-13-10, 12:57 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

We won't have true equality until we discover a gene for polygamy.
Old 07-13-10, 01:58 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
I defy you to find any red-blooded American male, gay or straight, who won't turn down some refreshing spit from a male Christian rock star on a hot summer day.
fixed.
Old 07-13-10, 02:17 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

We wouldn't have to waste time with all this research if the gay mafia would reveal how they recruit decent young men and turn them.
Old 07-13-10, 02:35 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Originally Posted by Ky-Fi View Post
Particularly for you atheists who only believe in a material universe, by definition you believe that every behavior has a natural, biological origin, as you've already defined that as the totality of reality.
Huh? I guess I don't understand the smiley face. I don't believe everything has a natural biological origin unless you think free will is biological. And nobody is talking about marriage. It's about sexuality.
Old 07-13-10, 02:56 PM
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Re: Scientists can dictate sexual preference of mice

Originally Posted by suziq999 View Post
Huh? I guess I don't understand the smiley face. I don't believe everything has a natural biological origin unless you think free will is biological. And nobody is talking about marriage. It's about sexuality.
I'm not an atheist, so I don't believe free will is biological.
But I don't quite understand how you can even believe in free will if you believe the physical universe is the final reality. How can free will be free and separate from the physical laws that govern the material universe if one believes that there is nothing other than the material universe?

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