Homosexuality of Mice and Men

by Emilie Branch


Chinese scientists have discovered that male mice bred without the chemical serotonin are attracted to other male mice, not females. This is the first time an isolated neurotransmitter has been easily linked to homosexuality. When serotonin is re-injected into the mice brains, they show a preference for females again.

Mice are not humans. The findings are interesting because they are so simple, mice that lack the gene necessary to produce serotonin will be attracted to mice of the same sex. The report concludes, “serotonergic signaling is crucial for male sexual preference in mice.” In spite of the impulse to link these findings with our own biology, neuroscientist Professor Keith Kendrick cautions, “any potential links between serotonin and human sexual preferences must be considered somewhat tenuous.” Indeed Keith, mice are aroused mainly through their sense of smell; it is nearly impossible to compare their mating habits with the vast complexities of human love-relations.

Studies like this are funny because they often put a larger, more controversial issue to the foreground and look to excuse it based on vague science.  Why didn’t the study include findings about female mice? When you leave out homosexuality in the female community you belittle it. Lesbianism is often viewed as trivial, hypersexual, or a “phase” whereas male homosexuality is seen as not being a choice, but a reality. This study seems to want male homosexuality to be confirmed by a chemical in the brain, even though the link between men and mice is shaky at best. 

Image Credit: Zmescience.com

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