Joined: Aug. 2005
To actually insert just a little science into the debate ( )
If homosexuality is an inherited trait, why do genes for it survive? Because these genes may make women more likely to reproduce.
Andrea Camperio-Ciani's team at the University of Padua, Italy, asked 98 gay and 100 straight men to fill in questionnaires about their families. They found mothers and aunts had more children if related to a gay rather than a straight man. Mothers of gay men averaged 2.7 babies, compared with 2.3 born to mothers of straight men. Aunts on the mother's side had 2 babies compared with 1.5 for maternal aunts of straight men (Proceedings of the Royal Society B, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2004).
The team suggests that gene variations on the X chromosome make women more likely to have more children, and men more likely to be gay. "We think of a gene for male homosexuality, but it might really be a gene for sexual attraction to men," says Simon LeVay, a neuroscientist at Stanford University and a writer on sexuality.
But the "maternal effect" could at most account for only 14 per cent of the prevalence of male homosexuality, the Italian team cautions. "Our findings, if confirmed, are only one piece in a much larger puzzle on the nature of human sexuality."
If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip
I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands