Re: Gene Selection

Harvey Newstrom (
Thu, 2 Dec 1999 15:41:17 -0500

E. Shaun Russell <> wrote on Thursday, December 02, 1999 7:10 am,

> Here's a random thought: when genetic engineering becomes relatively
> common and parents can select most of the genetic makeup of their
> soon-to-be progeny, how many parents --gay or straight-- would choose
> offspring's sexual orientation as being homosexual

Very good question. I think that even the most basic traits could become selected. Will blue-eyed blonds be chosen over green-eyed brunnetts? I'm not sure. I think it would be cultural. In ancient Greek, gays probably would be chosen over straights. Plato argued for "platonic love" between two men (who were equals, citizens, educated) as being better than reproductive love between a man and a woman (who was not seen as equal, was not a citizen, and was not allowed to be educated.) In the Christianized Dark Ages of Europe, straights would be chosen over gays. Who knows what cultures would be like in the future. We may see intensified factions of all cultures.

I think a more pressing question would be if genetically engineered engineered individuals would be acceptable to society. With recent backlashes against genetic engineering, I could see public opinion viewing gays as second-class humans, while viewing genetically engineered straights as being not human at all. I think bigger questions with genetic engineering in general will be encountered before the specific questions with individual traits pop up.

These are very interesting questions to consider. I think the social reaction to such technology will be more predictive than scientific capabilities. Just like the moon missions, social pressures will be a stronger guiding force than scientific advancement.

Harvey Newstrom <mailto://>
Author, Consultant, Engineer, Legal Hacker, Researcher, Scientist.