Study Finds Gay
Gene in Fruit Flies

Researchers in
Chicago have discovered a gene that identifies
homosexuality in fruit flies, which can be turned on and off
with drugs. David Featherstone, a biologist at the
University of Illinois, said that while humans have a
similar gene, it has yet to be determined whether that
gene has any effect on same-sex attractions in humans.

Researchers have
found that fruit flies with a mutated "gender-blind"
gene are bisexual. The flies cannot tell the
difference between male and female pheromones, according to
the Chicago Sun-Times. The mutation strengthens
synapses, causing the flies to overreact to the pheromones.
This causes the fruit flies to be attracted to both
males and females.

"The
[gender-blind] mutant males treated other males exactly the
same way normal male flies would treat a female,"
Featherstone said in the article. "They even attempted
copulation."

The study tested
the hypothesis by giving the bisexual fruit flies drugs
that weakened their synapses. Within hours the flies engaged
exclusively in heterosexual activity. The group also
gave heterosexual flies drugs that strengthened their
synapses, causing them to be attracted to both male
and female flies. (The Advocate)

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