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Old 10-20-2003, 12:20 PM   #1
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Study: Sexual identity hard-wired by genetics

The main reason for this study, it appears, was to help perfect techniques for proper gender assignment for pseudohermaphrodism, where an individual is born with both underdeveloped testicles/penis and ovaries/uterus.


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Study: Sexual identity hard-wired by genetics


LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) --Sexual identity is wired into the genes, which discounts the concept that homosexuality and transgender sexuality are a choice, California researchers reported on Monday.

"Our findings may help answer an important question -- why do we feel male or female?" Dr. Eric Vilain, a genetics professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, said in a statement. "Sexual identity is rooted in every person's biology before birth and springs from a variation in our individual genome."

His team has identified 54 genes in mice that may explain why male and female brains look and function differently.

Since the 1970s, scientists have believed that estrogen and testosterone were wholly responsible for sexually organizing the brain. Recent evidence, however, indicates that hormones cannot explain everything about the sexual differences between male and female brains.

Published in the latest edition of the journal Molecular Brain Research, the UCLA discovery may also offer physicians an improved tool for gender assignment of babies born with ambiguous genitalia.

Mild cases of malformed genitalia occur in 1 percent of all births -- about 3 million cases. More severe cases -- where doctors can't inform parents whether they had a boy or girl -- occur in one in 3,000 births.

"If physicians could predict the gender of newborns with ambiguous genitalia at birth, we would make less mistakes in gender assignment," Vilain said.

Using two genetic testing methods, the researchers compared the production of genes in male and female brains in embryonic mice -- long before the animals developed sex organs.

They found 54 genes produced in different amounts in male and female mouse brains, prior to hormonal influence. Eighteen of the genes were produced at higher levels in the male brains; 36 were produced at higher levels in the female brains.

"We discovered that the male and female brains differed in many measurable ways, including anatomy and function." Vilain said.

For example, the two hemispheres of the brain appeared more symmetrical in females than in males. According to Vilain, the symmetry may improve communication between both sides of the brain, leading to enhanced verbal expressiveness in females.

"This anatomical difference may explain why women can sometimes articulate their feelings more easily than men," he said.

The scientists plan to conduct further studies to determine the specific role for each of the 54 genes they identified.

"Our findings may explain why we feel male or female, regardless of our actual anatomy," said Vilain. "These discoveries lend credence to the idea that being transgender --- feeling that one has been born into the body of the wrong sex -- is a state of mind."
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Old 10-20-2003, 05:19 PM   #2
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Makes sense to me.
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Old 10-20-2003, 07:24 PM   #3
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Well that doesn't preclude that sexual identity can be rewired by negative life experience. I would say the whole transgender thing by its very nature is genetic. But homosexuality is a somewhat different phenomenon. The geneder identity can be pretty much intact. You have males or females who still behave largely as males or females (some more than others) and think of themselves as male or female. Their difference is that they prefer their own gender sexually, not that their whole gender notion differs from their physicality. Definitley a cerain percentage of homosexuals are as they are due to genetics. However the number of children who are sexually abused who grow up to be homosexual indicates that genetics isn't the only cause. Unless you suppose that say male sexual predators are able to identify only homosexual boys as their victims.
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Old 10-21-2003, 12:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Blacksword
However the number of children who are sexually abused who grow up to be homosexual indicates that genetics isn't the only cause.
There are plenty of children who are sexually abused and turn out perfectly heterosexual (and, if you don't believe me, I live in Boston, the land of the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandals, and all the news reports featuring abuse victims are now married men). This is, scientifically, a weak argument, and, by sheer probability, it is certainly likely that sexual predators have victimized individuals who were going to be homosexual anyway.

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Old 10-21-2003, 01:06 AM   #5
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Until a proper set of studies are done we can't be sure. Also keep in mind different people respond to teh same event very differently. I'm not saying that sexual abuse automatically equals homosexuality. I personally find it less likely that sexual predators would only home in on gay boys. What about the hockey coach instances where much of the team are abused. In the end we don't know yet. But I find gaydar a tad improbable for all cases.
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Old 10-21-2003, 01:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Blacksword
Until a proper set of studies are done we can't be sure. Also keep in mind different people respond to teh same event very differently. I'm not saying that sexual abuse automatically equals homosexuality. I personally find it less likely that sexual predators would only home in on gay boys. What about the hockey coach instances where much of the team are abused. In the end we don't know yet. But I find gaydar a tad improbable for all cases.
I think you're making up these things to reflect your own personal biases. Most sexual abuse victims grow up heterosexual, reflective of the general population. Do some victims grow up homosexual? Yes. But is it likely that they would have grown up homosexual regardless, like all the other non-abused homosexuals in the world? Probably.

Anyway, this is not what this study was concerned with.

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Old 10-21-2003, 02:34 AM   #7
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"Study"

I am not talking directly about this case. But "Study" to me has lost its meaning. There is a study for everything in this world. If i were to believe gays had a higher probability to commit sexual abuse i could probably find someone to do an Study to prove me right. Studies to me are meaningless.

This is not particular to this case but to all cases. There are too many people with motives in this world to really believe anything anyone says.

Sorry but a "study" wouldnt make me change my mind on anything.
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Old 10-21-2003, 08:25 AM   #8
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I'm all in favour of studies, so long as their done by third parties and there are several done on the same thing to avoid fluke results and biases. It's like a scientific experement, there needs to be repeatablity of results to prove anything. I just want more data. I would like to see the stats on percentages of sexuall-abused children who do grow up homosexual. I do have somewhat of a bias, and that's one reason why I'd like more data to see if my reasoning flawed or not.
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Old 10-21-2003, 08:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by bonoman
"Study"

I am not talking directly about this case. But "Study" to me has lost its meaning. There is a study for everything in this world. If i were to believe gays had a higher probability to commit sexual abuse i could probably find someone to do an Study to prove me right. Studies to me are meaningless.

This is not particular to this case but to all cases. There are too many people with motives in this world to really believe anything anyone says.

Sorry but a "study" wouldnt make me change my mind on anything.
I agree w/this.
I think a lot of "studies" are agenda-oriented and motivated, the same w/polling..

My question is ..if we are all hard wired to be straight or gay where do the Bi-Sexuals fit in, or the Bi-Curious crowd fit in?

Are the people who possess these genes have genes that are too sexy for themselves..?

Apparently there are no easy answers.

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Old 10-21-2003, 09:06 AM   #10
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there are such things as 'good' studies.

one can determine themselves whether a study is good or not by analyzing the methods
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Old 10-21-2003, 10:13 AM   #11
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Jesus...take a fucking college-level genetics class. It would do many of you a world of good. There's a reason why they don't craft studies around personal bigotry, and you're ignoring one simple fact: the intersexed (a.k.a., pseudohermaphrodism, "hermaphrodites") *do* exist, and all the willful blindness in the world isn't going to change that.

But go back to reading your Bibles then; I'm *really sure* that people 2500 years ago knew *much* more than we do now.

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Old 10-21-2003, 10:13 AM   #12
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The problem is that people, the meida especially take one study as authoritative just because it says something new, or shocking. People need to be educated on the scientific method, where repeatability is key. No study's findingsshould be published without being independently verified and it's results checked by subsequent studies carried out by different people. The problem is people are impatient and they want some answere now, before any of the data has been verified. If studies were done more scientifically they'd get more respect.

Human sexuality is somethign far too complex to be resolved in a single study. It is going to take decades for us to get anything approaching a solid understanding, starting from almost complete ignorance as we did. That's one thing I applaud my church for, it has an ongoing commitee on human sexuality which makes reports every four years as more data comes in and has kept the issue open for debate rather than making any final decisions. I'm not making any final decisions either. I don't have en ough data.
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Old 10-21-2003, 10:18 AM   #13
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the only studies which can maybe be overlooked immediately are those funded by a corporation who is seeking certain results.

this study does not appear to be one of those

however, I agree that many more studies finding similar results will be needed before it can be deemed credible.

I have a biochemistry degree and I know that one study can find something completely the opposite of another.
it's all in the method
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Old 10-21-2003, 10:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Blacksword
Human sexuality is somethign far too complex to be resolved in a single study. It is going to take decades for us to get anything approaching a solid understanding, starting from almost complete ignorance as we did. That's one thing I applaud my church for, it has an ongoing commitee on human sexuality which makes reports every four years as more data comes in and has kept the issue open for debate rather than making any final decisions. I'm not making any final decisions either. I don't have en ough data.
"Your Church." Call me skeptical off the bat, but if you think scientists are biased, then you've seen nothing yet with churches.

But I would be interested to know what church you are referring to.

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Old 10-21-2003, 10:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by diamond
My question is ..if we are all hard wired to be straight or gay where do the Bi-Sexuals fit in, or the Bi-Curious crowd fit in?
There are 54 genes and multiple combinations. Do the math.

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