[ExI] gay bomb again

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Dec 11 06:26:23 UTC 2007

Hey check this:


The generals were ridiculed a few months ago for proposing a gay bomb, which
would temporarily make the opposing soldiers gay, thus perhaps causing them
to lose interest in the attack.  Now scientists claim they did exactly this
to fruit flies (no pun intended).

This leads to a question especially for the heterosexuals among us, but
others are welcome to comment too:  Should the scientists eventually develop
a pill that would cause one to be temporarily homosexual, would you eat it?
Assume plenty of reliable people try it and assure us that the gay-for-a-day
pill is non-addictive, wears off quickly and causes no permanent damage or
change of any kind.  Assume that you will not actually participate in any
sexual activity, and will recruit a local non-pill-gulping buddy to spot you
the whole time just to make sure.  (This is not hard to imagine.  Like many
of us, I was a raging hetero for years during my misspent youth without
actually participating in any sexual activity, hetero or otherwise.  }8-[
Dammit. {8^D)  But just to gain some insight into how that all works, in
order to have more informed and meaningful discussions with those so
oriented, to gain understanding into how gay men and (one would suppose)
women view the world, I think I would swallow that pill.

Scientists Make Fruit Flies Gay, Then Straight Again
Monday, December 10, 2007

By Robert Roy Britt

While several studies find homosexuality in humans and other animals is
biological rather than learned, a question remains over whether it's a
hard-wired phenomenon or one that can be altered.

A new study finds that both drugs and genetic manipulation can turn the
homosexual behavior of fruit flies on and off within a matter of hours.

While the genetic finding supports the thinking that homosexuality is
hard-wired, the drug finding surprisingly suggests it's not that simple.

In fact, homosexuality in the fruit flies seems to be regulated by how they
interpret the scent of another.

Dramatic result

Homosexuality is widespread in the animal world. But scientists have long
debated whether, in humans a "gay gene" exists.

Previous research in humans has suggested that how we interpret scents given
off by another person might impact our sexuality.

In the new work, University of Illinois at Chicago researcher David
Featherstone and coworkers discovered a gene in fruit flies they call
"genderblind," or GB. A mutation in GB turns flies bisexual.

Post-doctoral researcher Yael Grosjean found that all male fruit flies with
a mutation in their GB gene courted other males.

"It was very dramatic," Featherstone said. "The GB mutant males treated
other males exactly the same way normal male flies would treat a female.
They even attempted copulation."


Other genes are known to alter sexual orientation, but most just control
whether the brain develops as genetically male or female. It's not known why
a male brain does male things and a female brain acts in female ways,
Featherstone and his colleagues say.

"Based on our previous work, we reasoned that GB mutants might show
homosexual behavior because their glutamatergic synapses were altered in
some way," Featherstone said. "Homosexual courtship might be sort of an
'overreaction' to sexual stimuli."

To test this, the researchers genetically altered synapse strength,
independent of GB. They also gave flies drugs to alter synapse strength. As
predicted, they were able to turn fly homosexuality on and off, within

"It was amazing. I never thought we'd be able to do that sort of thing,
because sexual orientation is supposed to be hard-wired," Featherstone said.
"This fundamentally changes how we think about this behavior."

Sense of smell

The team figured fly brains maintain two sensory circuits: one to trigger
heterosexual behavior and one for homosexual. When GB suppresses
glutamatergic synapses, the homosexual circuit is blocked, the thinking

So they did more tests. As expected, without GB to suppress synapse
strength, the flies no longer interpreted smells the same way. The smells in
question come in the form of pheromones, chemicals that affect sexual
behavior in much of the animal kingdom.

It is not known, however, to what extent human attraction is affected by
pheromones. A study in 2005 found that when smelling a chemical from
testosterone, portions of the human brains active in sexual activity were
turned on in gay men and straight women, but not in straight men.

But at least among fruit flies, "pheromones are powerful sexual stimuli,"
Featherstone said. "As it turns out, the GB mutant flies were perceiving
pheromones differently. Specifically, the GB mutant males were no longer
recognizing male pheromones as a repulsive stimulus."

The research was published online today by the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Copyright C 2007 Imaginova Corp. All Rights Reserved. 

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