Researchers from the University of Tennessee say there is not a specific gay gene, but there is a biological 'power switch.'
(Image Source: Fox News ) BY SCOTT MALONE ANCHOR CHRISTINA HARTMAN The long-running debate about whether homosexuality is genetic or chosen has taken another turn thanks to new research at the University of Tennessee. WVIT and WATE have the specifics. “The study did not find a specific gay gene, but researchers say there is what they call a genetic power switch that gets passed down from parents. The switch tells females to ignore testosterone and tells men to use the hormone.” “Researchers found homosexuality can be passed from one parent to the opposite sex child … Masculine epi-marks may be passed from father to daughter and feminine traits from mother to son.” A writer for US News & World Report notes that evolutionarily speaking: if homosexuality was solely a genetic trait, scientists would expect the trait to eventually disappear because homosexuals wouldn’t be expected to reproduce. But as a blogger for Genetic Engineering News points out: this isn’t the first time researchers have pointed to epigenetics. A study by German researchers in the 1970’s concluded that... “Sex hormone activities in pre- and early postnatal life … are able to program sexual brain organization and hence sexual orientation, gender role behavior, and gender identity.” A writer for Science Magazine spoke with one evolutionary biologist who says the researchers did a good job, but they still have plenty of work left to do. “‘The [researchers] have done a terrific job providing a mechanism for genetic variation, especially [one] that … [is] so tightly bound to reproduction’ …. [but going] from changes in gene expression to why someone is attracted to a person of the same sex is a question for which science may never fill in all the blanks.” Researchers say the model still needs to be tested on real-life parent-offspring pairs, but that this epigenetic link makes more sense than any other explanation.