Re: Disorders

Bradley Felton (
Mon, 13 Jul 1998 01:19:46 -0500

At 10:24 PM 7/12/98 -0400, Harvey Newstrom wrote:
>Bradley Felton wrote:
>> 1. An increase in gay rats does not slow down the population bloom, as
>> non-gay rats are always happy to take up the slack.
>There is no "slack". We are talking about overcrowded rats. I know of
>no mechanism for an gay rats to trigger increased breeding in other
>rats. It would be very interesting to discover a nonbreeding influence
>on the subsequent generation!

The remaining, non-gay male rats would surely be up to the task of keeping the females supplied with sperm, no? I suspect they would even take on this onerous duty with some enthusiasm.... So having gay rats in the rat pool would not help to lessen the population crunch.

>> 2. If these gay rats are not contributing to the gene pool, their trait
>> can not be said to have evolved for this purpose (it may be a "glitch",
>> which evolved for some other purpose but turns fatal in an over-populated
>> environment).
>Your assuming that all rats passing along the gay gene are themselves
>gay. Most genes are not simple dominant genes that express themselves
>in their hosts. This is why children can have traits not visible in
>their parents, even though they were passed genetically from the

If I remember correctly, the topic was rats having evolved a trait that causes them to turn gay when overpopulation sets in. So at some point in time there is a hero rat who, due to a mysterious mutant strain in his makeup, turns gay to save the colony from their population crises. Which effort fails miserably (see #1 above). This heroic rat then, for his second act, refrains from having any descendants to carry on his heroic tradition....

I think it's fair to say that if this trait offers no reproductive advantage in this scenario, it didn't evolve in this scenario, or *for this purpose*.

>> In humans, the "gay gene" exists in an equilibrium with those of other
>> sexual stratedgies, increasing its share in small societies where the
>> increased disease risk that this strategy brings is not a large factor,
>> decreasing when the opposite is true.
>If there is a "gay gene", I'm not sure why you think it would be more
>likely to be regulated by disease that any other gene. I don't think
>there are any gay-specific diseases. HIV is too recent to be proposed
>as a disease factor in evolution, and its incubation time is much too
>long to prevent breeding. Since gays don't reproduce as much as
>nongays, I would expect a gay-preferring disease to have little effect
>on genetics.

To take your last statement first, people with the "gay gene" have historically reproduced just as often as people without it, else this gene would have declined and vanished from the gene pool.

By trying to "fit in" to societies that expected men to marry and have children, gays did indeed father children--as often as straights. Which explains why disease was a limiting factor for this trait: since gays were having sex with other men as well as with women, they had more sex partners than straight males, hence they suffered disproportionately from STD's.

It is supposed that the "having more sex partners" is also the reproductive advantage offered by this gene, as possessors of it tend to gain more and earlier sexual experience than those who lack it, which is much appreciated by the girlies....

-Bradley Felton