Friday, October 26, 2007

Lesbian Worm Sex

Perhaps not quite what you really want to think about but it does appear that a genetic change can bring about a change in sexual orientation:

Altering a gene in the brain of female worms changed their sexual orientation, U.S. researchers said on Thursday, making female worms attracted to other females.

The study reinforces the notion that sexual orientation is hard-wired in the brain, said Erik Jorgensen, scientific director of the Brain Institute at the University of Utah.

"They look like girls, but act and think like boys," Utah researcher Jamie White, who worked on the study published in the journal Current Biology, said in a statement.

Researchers in Jorgensen's lab switched on a gene in female worms that makes the body develop male structures, but they only activated the gene in the brain.

As a result, the female worms still had female bodies, but they behaved like males.

Whether this is applicable to humans is really as yet unknown: as mammals we're really rather more complex in both our genetic structure and our development. What we can say so far is that homosexuality seems to be gentically determined in one species: whether it is in others is still up for grabs.

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