Friday, June 03, 2005

Homosexual Flies?

The New York Times reports that researchers have identified a master sexual gene in fruit flies. Males artificially given the female variation of the gene exhibit female sexual behavior directed toward other males. Likewise, females given the male version of the gene attempt to mate with other females. According to the study's lead author: "We have shown that a single gene in the fruit fly is sufficient to determine all aspects of the flies' sexual orientation and behavior."
Dr. Michael Weiss, chairman of the department of biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University expressed optimism that "this will take the discussion about sexual preferences out of the realm of morality and put it in the realm of science."
I find it interesting that Dr. Weiss is only hopeful that human sexual orientation might be accounted for biologically. If the findings of the fly study were applied consistently, sexual behavior of all kinds could be accounted for in terms of genetic determinism in which case it would be inappropriate (might we say "wrong?") to offer any moral evaluation whatsoever.

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