Posts Tagged 'biology'

The Times: Lesbian albatrosses and bisexual bonobos have last laugh on Darwin

17 June 2009
The Times (UK)

Lesbian albatrosses and bisexual bonobos have last laugh on Darwin

Chris Smyth

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’

BBC: ‘Gay penguins’ rear adopted chick

3 June 2009
BBC Online

‘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’

Male transsexual gene link found

Source: BBC
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’

The evolution of homosexuality: Gender bending

Source: The Economist magazine
23 October 2008

The evolution of homosexuality
Gender bending

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’

Nature, Nurture, Neither: Reconceptualizing Gender and Sexuality

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’

ScienceDaily: Society’s Attitudes Have Little Impact On Choice Of Sexual Partner


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’

bidstrup: The Natural “Crime Against Nature”


The Natural “Crime Against Nature”
A Brief Survey of Homosexual Behaviors In Animals

Sodomy has been stigmatized for century upon century, and in many cultures across the world and through time, mostly seeking to stigmatize relationships between members of the same sex. Almost invariably, when it is criminalized, those who criminalize it (or would do so) refer to it as the “crime against nature” or the “sin against nature.” The presumption is that homosexual behavior is a perversion, and a uniquely human perversion, engaged in as the result of what is presumed to be a learned attraction to members of the same sex.

There’s only one problem with that assumption: None of it is true.

J.B.S. Haldane may not have had homosexuality in mind when he uttered his famous quote about a queer universe, but it has proven to be far more prescient than he could ever have imagined. In the approximately 1,000 to 3,000 species whose behavior has been well researched and described in the literature, approximately 450 have been shown to have clear homosexual behaviors. As we’ll learn in this essay, homosexuality is not at all exclusively a western, European cultural pattern as some Christian and Muslim fundamentalists and Afrocentrists (and even some African politicians) have long maintained. It’s not even unique to humans. And any homosexual behavior you care to name – anal sex, same sex kissing, long-term pair bonding between members of the same sex, courtship rituals unique to homosexual couples, all these and many more are all commonly found in the animal kingdom.

Continue reading “Crime Against Nature“…

Scans see ‘gay brain differences’

Source: BBC
16 June 2008

Scans see ‘gay brain differences’

The brains of gay men and women look like those found in heterosexual people of the opposite sex, research suggests.

The Swedish study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, compared the size of the brain’s halves in 90 adults.

Gay men and heterosexual women had halves of a similar size, while the right side was bigger in lesbian women and heterosexual men. Continue reading ‘Scans see ‘gay brain differences’’

What does gay look like? Science keeps trying to figure that out

Source: The Los Angeles Times
Date: 16 June 2008

What does gay look like? Science keeps trying to figure that out

Finding common biological traits — things like hair growth patterns, penis size, family makeup — might one day shed light on the origins of sexual orientation.
By Regina Nuzzo, Special to The Times

June 16, 2008

Men with body paint at Tel Aviv Pride, 2008

Continue reading ‘What does gay look like? Science keeps trying to figure that out’