- Education and Science»
- Life Sciences
Can Human DNA Tell Us Anything About Homosexuality?
The DNA Helix
Homosexuals are the first to admit that they did not "choose" to become homosexuals. If not a voluntary choice, the answer may be locked within the human genome. Further, if this is the case, we can only speculate what purpose this "aberrant" genome plays in evolution.
From a purely biological standpoint, one has to wonder -- is homosexuality an accident or is it embedded within our code for reasons unknown? At present, we do not have enough information to determine whether homosexuality is caused by genetics or by an individual's environment, or both.
In time it seems inevitable that homosexuality will, through scientific discovery and analysis, be seen as a non-predominate, perhaps "defective" link in the human DNA helix. I use quotes around the term "defective" because some defective links are benign, and the normality/abnormality of homosexuality is something that will continue to be debated (perhaps forever) in terms of morality -- as determined by a particular society.
Science just investigates stuff and attempts to make new discoveries. The result or outcome of these discoveries is then tossed into the arena of a population's moral/ethical standards, which are not static. As far as science goes, it can draw certain conclusions, such as -- the preponderance of DNA strands in the majority of the population reveal/do not reveal a non-defective marker for sexual identification. A scientist might draw the conclusion that non-defective markers are the "norm."
As a matter of pure speculation, discovery of the sexual identification marker (once isolated) will present society with yet another argument -- to correct the defect or let it stand. And this will bring up another "right to choose" for parents (or an individual parent) that will add an entirely new dimension of fervor/fire to the debate over normality and individual civil rights.
For the present moralists (Christian or otherwise) cannot (or should not) base an opinion on normality because of the inability to propagate theme. For someone with a more scientific/nonreligious bent, the term "normal" ought to be consigned to a strict scientific definition. Moralists have usurped the term, along with the propagation theme, to advance an ethical argument.
Unless you happen to be a religious homosexual and believe that God purposely desires to have homosexuals born and be accepted without bias into society, the countervailing point of view would have to be that homosexuality is an accident (fortunate or unfortunate as that may be).
In time science will discover the source of an aberration (if it can be termed as such). The homosexual community will be forced to face what will seem like a dilemma -- incontrovertible proof that their existence (in part) is due to a mishap of nature.
Future moms and dads will decide the extent to which homosexuality should continue (or not).
I'm not attempting to spell out a doomsday scenario for gays/lesbians -- only pointing out that such questions of normality will elevate to greater heights in the consciousness of society within a few generations.
Ironically, it may be the same orthodox Christians who today denounce homosexuality that will stand against any manipulation of a child's DNA structure -- fully understanding what their decision implies.
According to the Atlantic Wire, David Wagner reporting:
"Homosexuality isn't genetic after all. But don't start saying this proves it's a "lifestyle choice," fundamentalists. Researchers from UC Santa Barbara and Uppsala University found a biological basis for same-sex attraction, locating the origins of homosexuality in the womb. Epi-marks, the genetic switches that regulate how our genes express themselves, can be passed down from mother to son or father to daughter while the fetuses gestate, the researchers found, adding that certain "sexually antagonistic" epi-marks may also be involved."