..::|:.: Scattered Words

"in brokeness, I could see, that this was your will for me..." :: Jeremy Camp

6.08.2004

Genetics (updated).

I suck at genetics. It was probably my worst bio class of the whole lot of them. Those darn fruit flies were cunning and sneaky, I tell you. They'd always wake up half-way through my tests and fly off the petri dish, destroying weeks of work. And there's really no catching a fruit fly. You can try, but you just look really funny.

Anyway, I was thinking about genetics and the whole idea of a gay gene. There's no definitive evidence. And there's likely no single genetic marker that translates to any kind of sexual orientation, gay or straight. If anything, it's probably a combination of traits affecting various hormones and neurotransmitters, spread out over multiple alleles. Again, that's if anything.

But then I thought (and this is just thought, off the top of my head, I haven't studied it yet) about evolution. I'm not a huge proponent of evolution, (some of things I've learned about evolutionary icons is startling) but lets just say I accept it as a supportable theory. Lets just say, I accept the possibility of a gay gene. The trouble is, I don't think I can accept both.

Even if a gay gene was a dominant trait (which it's probably recessive if it exists at all), it would cancel itself out after several generations. Our genes are passed to us by our parents. Since two gay people can't reproduce offspring via their combined genetic material, eventually, the gay gene would eventually be filtered out of a family line. In evolutionary terms, it would be selected against. The only possible way for a reamergance is through mutation, but still, because a gay person doesn't reproduce, the mutation would still be filtered out (even if it were passed on at all) and eventually selected against. Any gene that predisposed a person from reproducing would be selected against.

And there's still the whole thing that a gay person can physically parent offspring, but I just wonder if that really happens enough to sustain a genetic line of homosexuality. I also wonder how the charts would play out, what the odds are and if homosexuality is recurrent enough for the theory of a gay gene to be sustainable. It just seems really, really against the odds. But I'm no geneticist.

Sexuality, and in particular, sexual attraction seems more of a learned behavior, or rather an ingrained behavior based on neurotransmitter conditioning. I think we play a more active role in who we're sexually attracted to than we'd like to admitt. Or, you know, like when you meet someone whom you're not sexually attracted to at first, but because you like their personality so much the attraction comes later.

Just something to think about, I guess. I'm not sure I've made much sense. It doesn't matter anyway, I've said before, genetic causation isn't validation. See: cystic fibrosis.

UPDATE: Please remember I said this was all speculation of the top off my head, with no real research to back it up. I tire very quickly of people who expect me to read their very, very long e-mails yet can't read my full posts. And, let's all sit back and realize that there is a difference between something being caused genetically and something being hereditary. The two don't always go hand in hand. I was referring, mainly to the idea of how difficult it would be to sustain homosexuality as an inherited trait. I wasn't clear enough.