Published 22 June 2009
Tags: biology, evolution
17 June 2009
The Times (UK)
Lesbian albatrosses and bisexual bonobos have last laugh on Darwin
Charles Darwin argued that sexual preferences can shape the progress of evolution, creating displays, such as the peacock’s tail, that are inexplicable by natural selection alone.
It’s safe to say, however, that he did not anticipate the lesbian albatrosses of Hawaii. Nor bisexual bonobos. Let alone sadomasochistic bat bugs or the gay penguins of New York. Continue reading ‘The Times: Lesbian albatrosses and bisexual bonobos have last laugh on Darwin’
Published 4 June 2009
3 June 2009
‘Gay penguins’ rear adopted chick
Two “gay” male penguins have hatched a chick and are now rearing it as its adoptive parents, says a German zoo.
The zoo, in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, says the adult males – Z and Vielpunkt – were given an egg which was rejected by its biological parents.
It says the couple are now happily rearing the chick, said to have reached four weeks old. Continue reading ‘BBC: ‘Gay penguins’ rear adopted chick’
6 May 2009
By Catherine Lim
I had given my views, mainly as a non-partisan, liberal Singaporean during the recent Aware controversy. Some parents had written or called to voice their concern about one issue that had stood out – the use in schools of an Aware program on sexuality, which allegedly promoted homosexuality. The following letter tries to address this concern.
Dear concerned parents
There must be many of you out there, less interested in the polemics and theatrics of the recent Aware debacle than in the one issue that suddenly surfaced and grabbed your attention as parents: the issue of homosexuality.
You are clearly not against homosexuals (many of you in fact claim to have homosexuals among your friends) but you are, understandably, against any program in the schools that encourage your sons and daughters to become gays and lesbians. This was exactly the charge brought against the Aware Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) by the Christian group that had seized control of the organization precisely to fight what they perceived as a great evil. They quoted from the program materials to prove their charge, condemning the insidious call to young people to regard homosexuality and its associated practices (including anal sex—ugh!) as ‘neutral’. As parents of young impressionable teens, you must have been aghast. Continue reading ‘FALLOUT OF THE AWARE SAGA: A LETTER TO CONCERNED PARENTS’
Published 27 October 2008
Tags: biology, evolution, transgender
26 October 2008
Male transsexual gene link found
Australian researchers have identified a significant link between a gene involved in testosterone action and male transsexualism.
DNA analysis from 112 male-to-female transsexual volunteers showed they were more likely to have a longer version of the androgen receptor gene.
The genetic difference may cause weaker testosterone signals, the team reported in Biological Psychiatry.
However, other genes are also likely to play a part, they stressed. Continue reading ‘Male transsexual gene link found’
Published 27 October 2008
Tags: biology, evolution
Source: The Economist magazine
23 October 2008
The evolution of homosexuality
From The Economist print edition
Genes that make some people gay make their brothers and sisters fecund
THE evidence suggests that homosexual behaviour is partly genetic. Studies of identical twins, for example, show that if one of a pair (regardless of sex) is homosexual, the other has a 50% chance of being so, too. That observation, though, raises a worrying evolutionary question: how could a trait so at odds with reproductive success survive the ruthless imperatives of natural selection?
Various answers have been suggested. However, they all boil down to the idea that the relatives of those who are gay gain some advantage that allows genes predisposing people to homosexual behaviour to be passed on collaterally. Continue reading ‘The evolution of homosexuality: Gender bending’
Published 24 October 2008
Speeches and talks
21 October 2008
The genetics of gender
Brown University Prof. Anne Fausto-Sterling discussed genetic and environmental factors in the development of sexuality
By: Greta Moran
According to Brown University Prof. Anne Fausto-Sterling, the belief that genetics alone can determine a person’s sexual orientation is a “poor and misleading account of what genes do and how they affect us.”
Instead, Fausto-Sterling explained that genetic factors interact with other social and environmental influences in people’s lives to determine their sexual identities.
“Genes are not at the bottom of the pyramid,” she said, “but they are in the middle of the sandwich.”
Fausto-Sterling, professor of biology and gender studies, challenged common misconceptions about sexual development in the Women’s and Gender Studies department’s annual Eleanor Roosevelt presentation last Wednesday, “Nature, Nurture, Neither: Reconceptualizing Gender and Sexuality.” Continue reading ‘Nature, Nurture, Neither: Reconceptualizing Gender and Sexuality’
Published 6 October 2008
ScienceDaily (June 17, 2008) — A unique new study from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institute (KI) suggests that the attitude of families and the public have little impact on if adults decide to have sex with persons of the same or the opposite sex. Instead, hereditary factors and the individual’s unique experiences have the strongest influence on our choice of sexual partners.
The study is the largest in the world so far and was performed in collaboration with the Queen Mary University of London. More than 7,600 Swedish twins (men and women) aged 20-47 years responded to a 2005 – 2006 survey of health, behaviour, and sexuality. Seven percent of the twins had ever had a same-sex sexual partner.
“The results show, that familial and public attitudes might be less important for our sexual behaviour than previously suggested”, says Associate Professor Niklas Långström, one of the involved researchers. “Instead, genetic factors and the individual’s unique biological and social environments play the biggest role. Studies like this are needed to improve our basic understanding of sexuality and to inform the public debate.” Continue reading ‘ScienceDaily: Society’s Attitudes Have Little Impact On Choice Of Sexual Partner’