Genetics

Female mice turned lesbian after altering gene. An answer to genetic homosexuality?

mice-sexMice have been used for research in nearly every field, be it medicine, psychology or genetics. In one recent finding regarding genetics study on mice published in the BMC Genetics journal, scientists have managed to turn mice gay by simply altering their genome structure.

How so? Well, it seems a group of scientists from Korea’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology  have managed to alter the sexual habits of female mice by removing a single gene, called FucM (yes, I know. I laughed out loud at this too), that apparently is linked to sexual behavior in mice. Scientists observed how the female mice deprived of the FucM gene in embryo stage, after reaching sexual maturity, started to refuse advanced from male mice, and in turn tried to mate with female mice. Simply put, they’ve turned the female mice into lesbians!

Lead author, professor Chankyu Park, of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea, said: “The mutant female mouse underwent a slightly altered developmental program in the brain to resemble the male brain in terms of sexual preference.”

Scientists have long sought after a link between homosexual orientation and genes, however this particular research does nothing to suggest there’s the same connection in humans  -  it just proves there is in rodents. By deleting the enzyme-producing gene, the scientists believe that they caused the female mice to be exposed to extra oestrogen, by preventing their brains from filtering out the hormone.

The thing is, while oestrogen masculinises the brain in mice, it does not have the same effect in humans.

The research still is of immense interest, and professor Park stated he’ll soon begin work on his new research to see whether the enzyme produced by the gene – fucose mutarotase – has any influence on human sexuality. He admits, however, that he still doesn’t know where to find volunteers for this kind of project…

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  • Asphalt

    You’re applying human sexuality constructs to animal behavior, and anthropomorphizing the science and the animals. By doing this you’re allowing major media networks to capitalize on the publicity of animal “homosexuality”, which could lead to a lot of misunderstanding and negative public outcry.

  • joe

    We are animals…

  • http://www.adamscottbrown.com Adam

    They should just ask 23andme to see if FucM happens to be one of the genes tested in their arrays and then put up a questionaire asking for sexuality preferences. They could have the results of over 10k or 20k people within days.

  • Matt B

    Don’t rats share around 92% nof our genes? I’d call it pretty close. There should be the same sort of masculinising enzyme dfound in humans, just not the exact same type that occurs in mice.

  • khamelion81

    exactly how does a female mouse go lesbian?? how do you tell?? if you’re referring to mounting, it’s not only a mating position, but in some species of animals, especially mice, it is done by both sexes as a form of domination. i’ve kept mice a LONG time. about 7 years, i regularly see females mount other females, even males occasionally, as well as normal male on male. they are simply trying to dominate them

  • lezboy

    FucM gene? This has GOT to be a gag!! ROFLMAO

  • Ralph

    Baloney! The mice chose to be gay, according to those little homophobic minds on the Religious Right. With a little prayer and crossing our fingers (paws?) the can be straightened out!

  • Sami

    @khamelion81: You R such a Homophobe. So in humans it is a Choice and in animals it is Mounting and Domination? Wake up and listen to science man.

  • farang

    A Korean Metromouseual?

    Scary……

  • omg they are showing FEELINGS that wont do

    NewsFlash: Gene found for those who prefer paper over plastic

    scientist:”I knew all along it was genetic, those people”

    In a related story the gene has been found in people whom freely say “Hello” to their neighbors. Scientist: “I knew all along it was genetic, those people”.

    point: this issue is always presented as if of all social behavior and displays of appreciation for one hug of this person is normal and another is “GENETIC”. Bullshit.

    either your every choice of song on your ipod is as “GENETIC” as hugging this or that person or neither of them is anymore genetic than every other fricking behavior. fer crying out loud.

    the whole point of this research is to prove the lie that hugging one person is different (and “WRONG”) than hugging the next person.

    well its not…not different genetically…not anymore than choosing to listen to track one or track two on your ipod.

  • omg they are showing FEELINGS that wont do

    finally ‘Its’ not nature vs. nurture or choice vs. genetics…its both.:

    i.e. we are Born with the ability to think see and hear etc (our senses) which allow us to recognize that there are fun, beautiful, and interesting people.

    The word people includes males and females.

    Yet it mostly our choice whether, and to what degree, we acknowledge this or that person, this or that tradition, this or that fun opportunity. Its our choice whether and to what degree we include it in our life or evening plans.

    this struggle to prove “IT” is different is a mirage. like the notion that ‘blacks have smaller brains’. ‘They’ “proved” that one too for awhile.

  • omg they are showing FEELINGS that wont do

    “Female mice turned lesbian after altering gene. An answer to genetic homosexuality?”

    maybe after being sliced open and a life lived as a lab rat they simply wanted a little mouse affection and friendship you nitwit.

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  • http://mattison0922.wordpress.com The Reactionary Researcher

    There are serious difficulties in applying this study to humans. Firstly, the experiment clearly didn’t work in males, and based on the authors own mechanism of action, it shouldn’t work in males. Thus, this “animal model” is incapable of accounting for at least 50% of homosexual behavior. Additionally, if you take the time to read the study, which was freely available, the researchers speculate that this mutation resulted in an “abnormal” olfactory response to the pheromones present in urine. In mice sexual response begins with the scent of these pheremones. And while there is a certain subpopulation of humans that are turned on by urine, I think there’s more too it than the aroma, and they’re not representative of the larger population. Finally, this research is being offered as a homosexual behavior results from some genetic abnormality, the loss of a gene, the consequence of some mutation, etc. I doubt that can be good for the gay community. Furthermore, this type of study could lead to a genetic test for homosexuality, and no good can come from that.

  • MadScientist

    So it seems, gay people lack an enzyme in the brain that actually controls their hormones. That explains everything! I think its safe to say God can also make mistakes lol

  • MadScientist

    Truth is, there are actual gay people who choose to be gay. It’s especially common in the female population for some reason. Guess maybe because gay men are the only people born that way.

  • khamelion81

    @Sami: no, i am not a homophobe. i have had several very good gay friends in my life. i am listening to science, seeing as how i have way more experience with the animal in question, than these so called “scientists” or you. i’ve been a mouse breeder for over 7 years and have seen probably every possible outcome and natural gene variation available. homosexuality is quite different with humans than it is with other animals. with most animals, these acts that appear to be homosexual, usually, are in fact not, as they aren’t actually trying to have sex with the other individual. it is more for a demoralizing effect. with humans, depending on the culture and time period, homosexuality has been everything from ritualistic to natural, even just as a FAD (ie greek/roman orgies)

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  • jess

    im bisexual i would like to be a volunteer i hate my attraction to men , no offense

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  • AJ Honeylake

    Mistake? Is it a “mistake” that certain ethinic groups lack melanin in their skin and are therefore more prone to skin cancer and sunburn? Let’s be careful here. There is much to learn about what comes with human diversity. Even homosexuality provides a species with evolutionary advantages.

  • AJ Honeylake

    Those people are called “bisexual”, because as a straight person, I don’t see how it’s possible for me to ever “choose” otherwise. I can make myself attracted to other men no matter how hard I try. They’re just really, really not my thing.

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  • Thomas H.

    you seem to have missed the point, not every aspect of diversity is an evolutionary advantage, and to say that homosexuality is an advantage is a huge call. Tell me, how is it an advantage unless its linked to a deleterious gene (which is unlikely) then it isnt advantageous to have a portion of the population not breeding.

  • Thomas H.

    In mice the MUP is used to avoid inbreeding, but in lab strains of mice the MHC protein is used to avoid inbreeding, a similar mechanism to that used in humans.

  • Thomas H.

    you are a moron.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YQGKKPFBHHWSZ6L4TO4DCQ6HVY Oden

    Jessica from Tampa, is that you? :)

  • Wil

    Of course it’s advantageous to have a portion of the population breeding. Preferably the portion that breeds idiots…

  • Yely

    the lesbian mouse?

  • Paola Macias

    im lesbian and i hate it toO¡¡ i volunteer too¡

  • Edel

    Wil, you are really very idiot

  • Random Stranger

    Are you suggesting that gay people are idiots?