Homosexuality Linked to Genetics in Mice

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Darwin Wiggett/First Light/Corbis

Another of science’s epic debates has finally been resolved: it turns out that homosexuality is genetic. (In mice, at least.)

According to a study published in the BioMed Central Genetics journalthis month, researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology were able to prove a link between genetics and sexual preference in female mice.

The procedure involved removing the females’ (conveniently-abbreviated) FucM genes, which caused their brains to be masculinized—essentially turning the mice into lesbians. Researchers reported that after the gene was removed the mice “exhibited a masculine behavior, such as mounting to a normal female partner as well as showing a preference to female urine.”

So what relevance does this have to a search for homosexuality gene in humans? Well, technically none. The deletion of the FucM gene enabled the females’ brains to extra estrogen exposure, but human brains are masculinized by progesterone.

For now, this breakthrough provides only mounting anticipation that nature will soon trump nurture in the human sexuality debate as well.

Ella Quittner