Skip to comments.Gay flies turned on by heat
Posted on 09/17/2002 12:15:14 AM PDT by Sweet_Sunflower29
A mere change in temperature is all it takes for the males of a new line of genetically engineered flies to switch from being heterosexual to suddenly courting other males.
The switch occurs within minutes and is fully reversible, meaning scientists have for the first time a system they can manipulate to study how some brain regions may be involved in determining sexual orientation.
Whether the secrets unveiled by these peculiar flies will shed any light on human sexual preference is still unclear. Some of the neurons affected by the genetic changes are involved in sensing pheromones. These play an important role in fly courtship behaviour, but their influence in human sexual behaviour is unknown.
Toshihiro Kitamoto of the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope in California created the flies, but is reluctant to extrapolate the findings: "It's a very sensitive issue."
Others are more willing to express enthusiasm. Dean Hamer of the National Institutes of Health says the research should inspire other scientists hunting for genes involved in sexual orientation in humans.
There is no reason to think similar features will not be present in mammals, he says, noting that homosexual behavior is widespread among many animal species and suggests a strong genetic influence.
Hamer's team has published two highly publicised studies suggesting there is a "gay gene" on human chromosome X, though a different group failed to reproduce their results.
But many disagree. Sexual orientation in humans is mostly a social behaviour, contends Ruth Hubbard from the Council for Responsible Genetics. "To try to find analogies in flies, who have their own agendas, is just plain silly," she says.
Nonetheless, in flies there is no doubt that genetics plays a major determining role. A handful of genes have been identified that, when mutated, lead male flies to lose their preference for females and instead go after other males.
It has been previously suggested that some regions of the nervous system are connected to sexual orientation, but there was no way to focus on them. Now Kitamoto has genetically engineered flies so that only a subset of their neurons stopped working.
The mutation is temperature sensitive, meaning neurons carrying the mutation suddenly become inactive above 30°C. At the normal 19°C, males are heterosexual. But ramp up the heat above the critical temperature and in about two minutes their behaviour changes.
When put in a chamber with virgin females, the males become largely disinterested. Add them instead to a vial with other males and they pursue them vigorously. Flip the temperature back to normal and the flies become heterosexual again.
Kitamoto does not yet know why the flies change their preference so quickly, but says the system should become a valuable tool to define further which regions of the brain, and which genes, interact in determining sexual orientation.
For one it is the closest relative to man (it shares 98% of our DNA genetic structure), making it as close to man as a fox is as close to a dog! Secondly it was one of the last large mammals to be 'discovered' by Westerners (while the 'normal' Chimp, Pan Satyrus was known for centuries the Bonobo, Pan Paniscus was discovered in the 20th century).
However the most interesting thing about the Bonobo is that it is the only animal that engages in homosexual sex frequently and with abandon! Other animal species occasionally do homosexual acts (usually when practicing mating eg one male puppy mounting another puppy for a couple of seconds) but Bonobo's use homosexual sex (especially among the females) to maintain their society.
Also Bonobos are also the only other mammal apart from Man that differentiates between SEX and REPRODUCTION! Bonobos also have LOTS of sex, and the only sexual union that never happens is between close family members. Otherwise they run the whole gamut of sex .....from homo, to hetero, to even occasional orgies!
Also Bonobos are the only mammal (apart from man) that engages a lot in what is referred in certain circles as 'Hominum Copulation!' In layman's terms this is the so called 'Missionary Position' where the male and the female have sex facing each other. Other animals (including 'normal' Chimps) engage in what is referred to as 'Canum Copulation' after what dogs do).
As for the homosexual behavior the Female Bonobos engage in genito-genital rubbing (or GG rubbing) between adult females. One female facing another clings with arms and legs to a partner that, standing on both hands and feet, lifts her off the ground. The two females then rub their genital swellings laterally together, emitting grins and squeals that probably reflect orgasmic experiences. Male Bonobos on the other hand engage in standing back to back, one male briefly rubs his scrotum against the buttocks of another. They also practice so-called penis-fencing, in which two males hang face to face from a branch while rubbing their erect penises together.
The diversity of erotic contacts in bonobos includes sporadic oral sex, massage of another individual's genitals and intense tongue-kissing
Bonobos also substitute aggression for sex. Instead of fighting they just have one big orgy and go to sleep (i guess they take the premise of 'make love not war' a bit too seriously). And unlike Chipanzees (which occasionally have huge fights with other chimp groups that leaves the young of the losing group dead due to clubbing) the Bonobo structure (which by the way is built around females and led by them) is entirery peaceful, and when they meet another Bonobo group in the wild they exchange some of their females (one or two younger ones ...the daughters of the matriachs) and move on. And as for males their position in bonobo society depends on the social standing of their mother!
Anyways it seems although there is no way to prove if flies are gay one can surmise (and scientists have) that when it comes to percentages of gay unions Bonobos have a much higher relative percentage than humans.
Sheesh! I am telling you i have seen pictures of Bonobos and they are some of the craziest imps (i mean apes) in existence! (Although compared to 'normal' chimps they are kinder yet more fragile to noise .......i wonder why!!!!!!! I guess the 'limp wrist phenomenon is also not exclusice to humans).
They develop from faggot maggots.
They fly toward the Mauve colored wall?
Suddenly Tuesday night becomes television night with their roomie?
Anyways going to the Bonobo ....it is the only mammal (other than humans) that engages in homosexual behavior regularly. In other animals (eg lil puppies, colts , some simian species etc) they will occasionally seem to mount each other (and sometimes actually mount) but this is usually among the young animals that just had a flash of mating instinct. It never lasts.
However the Bonobos seem to have developed that crazy stuff to a whole other level ....and if you read the post i placed (no. 5) you will notice the manner in which Bonobos engage in homosexual sex (and even the way they perfrom heterosexual sex).
Those apes are just ape!
Even among human lesbians i doubt they normally have sex the way Bonobos do .....at least not with one standing up and lifting the other! To refresh your memory on Bonobo lesbian sex here is part of the post: As for the homosexual behavior the Female Bonobos engage in genito-genital rubbing (or GG rubbing) between adult females. One female facing another clings with arms and legs to a partner that, standing on both hands and feet, lifts her off the ground. The two females then rub their genital swellings laterally together, emitting grins and squeals that probably reflect orgasmic experiences
I do not know what is up with Bonobos, but they sure are strange!
In fact, if these monkeys you are talking about so alike with humans, how come they do not talk, read, write, or drive?
Why don't you take you pro-homosexual propoganda BS over to DU, where it belongs?
Pretty ignorant comment, taxonomically speaking.
Here's something to mull over: Time flies like the wind; fruit flies like bananas.
"To try to find analogies in flies, who have their own agendas, ..."
As does the NIH, I would suppose.
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