“Gay Gene” Makes Ladies Fertile?

What a scientific week!

First the gay brain debate – and its potential social ramifications – and now there’s new work linking homosexuality and genetics, although this theory may need a bit of work:

Italian scientists have come up with an explanation for the puzzle as to why homosexuality, if it is hereditary, has not been eliminated from the gene pool to date, despite the fact that gay people are less likely to reproduce than heterosexuals.

Andrea Camperio-Ciani, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Padova, says that homosexuality in males may be caused in part by genes that can increase fertility in females.

The researcher says that he and his colleagues have observed that some female relatives of gay men tend to have more children than average.

Camperio-Ciani went on to describe these genes as “sexually antagonistic,” meaning that increase a woman’s “fecundity,” while decreasing it in men. Does this men we gays aren’t fertile, because we were really hoping on using those sperm of ours!

The scientists, meanwhile, are going to get cracking on the “lesbian gene.” Apparently the gendered differences go deeper than just fertility…

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  • Darth Paul

    Why does science ignore lesbians?

  • reversion

    I thought this was all old news…

  • crazylove

    Uhm to the first poster- they haven’t ignored lesbians. there are other studies involving lesbians dealing with separate indicators that sexuality is at least partially biological. I think the real question is why is everything an excuse for gay conservatives or queer theory types to argue about their political agenda when they are trying to do science. much of this science may eventually be proven wrong, or it maybe right, but what’s not is your battle to address cultural issues. This is the exact reason it took decades to study these areas of science– a bunch of folks placing their values ont he science rather than just letting it happen.

  • Raf

    Yeah. The study itself is not old, but the idea is. A couple of papers have come out with mathematical models of populations involving gay alleles. There are several plausible scenarios where alleles favoring homosexuality could persist in populations at low rates. This paper lends further support by demonstrating that yet another very realistic scenario could maintain a set of gay alleles in a population.

    If you ever get the question about why gay alleles aren’t eliminated from the gene pool, I’d point the person to this study (or the others).

    Here’s the current PLoS ONE paper:

    Here’s a News and Views mini-review in Nature that was published last year:
    (might be closed access though…sorry)

  • eagledancer4444

    Thanks for the references, RAF.

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