July 13, 2010

The Gay Gene: would you choose the sexual orientation of your child?

Researchers have discovered a gene/enzyme dynamic that they can manipulate to predictably choose the sexual orientation of female mice.  Somewhat ironically, the gene that they removed from the mice to make them become homosexual is the “FucM” gene.  I kid you not.

Now the report did state that these particular results apply only to mice, but it went on to say,

it is probably only a matter of time before molecular geneticists identify genes that influence sexual orientation in humans.

‎I’ve long thought that God made and blessed our respective sexual orientations, and this study  simply helps prove the point to those who have been wary.

When I shared this information with one of my lesbian friends she responded saying:

….I think that there will be plenty of people who will see this as a genetic disorder of sorts, like Down Syndrome or cystic firbosis, versus a genetic alteration, like hair or eye color.  As something that is acceptable only because there is no treatment or cure. But even at that, we see these genetic disorders as “out of our hands”. So, yes, I think that we are just created this way. I also feel that this little article brings up some ethical questions. If there is a way of “fixing” homosexuals through genetic technology, do we do so? At what age? Does it violate their right to autonomy? Certainly homosexuals can be talented and gifted people who are competent and capable of making their own decisions. I, for one, wouldn’t have wanted to be genetically modified … at any age. I am who I am. I was born this way. I’m not inclined to give up a piece of who I am or have someone else make that decision for me.

What say you Elefriends?  Should society consider sexual orientation as being a birth defect or should we instead consider it more of a natural variation akin to eye color, hair color, skin color, size, and left or right handedness?  I’m firmly in the “natural variation” camp but in this era of “designer babies” what would each of us really do if we learned that our fetus had a gene that could possibly lead him or her to a life of social oppression, ridicule, and persecution, and therefore an increased risk of being victimized and experiencing depression and suicide attempts?  Besides, most parents long to become grandparents and the likelihood of that decreases if ones children are homosexual.

We certainly live in interesting times.

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