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Ever heard of Epigenetics? This may be cause of homosexuality
Posted: 08 April 2013 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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macgyver - 08 April 2013 06:25 AM

Epigenetics has everything to do with nurture in that environmental influences are the trigger for epigenetic changes. 

I stand corrected. I was thinking mainly about the nature/nurture debate. But when even emotional stress has impact…

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Posted: 08 April 2013 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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George - 08 April 2013 06:44 AM

There are at least two types of epigenetics. One would be based on and programmed by the DNA, like the methylation, but these are usually reset in the offspring. The second would be changes introduced by the environment. These cannot be passed onto the next generations, as there is no evidence that Lamarckism (i.e., inheritance of acquired characteristics) works.

George read the mouse study in my post above. The traits referred to in the study are environmentally induced changes in the epigenome and they are indeed passed on to the next generation. Methylation can be induced by external stimuli.

After Darwin’s theories were accepted Lemark’s ideas were largely ridiculed. He deserved the criticism since his scientific methods were not scientific at all and his theories were mostly wrong , but sometimes you can come to the correct conclusion the wrong way. Epigenetics does not vindicate Lamark in any way ( The examples he used were not acquired characteristics or epigenetic phenomena) but it is showing us that in some ways acquired characteristics can be passed on to offspring for at least one or two generations and perhaps more. We still have a lot to learn about this phenomena though.

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Posted: 08 April 2013 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Jumping away from Epigenetics, but sticking with the theme…

Have you folks heard/read this one

Fraternal birth order and male sexual orientation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraternal_birth_order_and_male_sexual_orientation
~ ~ ~
Empirical basis

The fraternal birth order effect is the strongest known biodemographic predictor of sexual orientation.[3] According to several studies, each older brother increases a man’s odds of having a homosexual orientation by 28–48%.[4][5][6][7][8] The fraternal birth order effect accounts for approximately one seventh of the prevalence of homosexuality in men.[9] There seems to be no effect on sexual orientation in women, and no effect related to the number of older sisters.[10][11]
~ ~ ~

Theories on the cause

Anthony Bogaert’s work involving adoptees concludes that the effect is not due to being raised with older brothers, but is hypothesized to have something to do with changes induced in the mother’s body when gestating a boy that affects subsequent sons. An in-utero maternal immune response has been hypothesized for this effect.[6][16][20][21] The effect is present regardless of whether or not the older brothers are raised in the same family environment with the boy. There is no effect when the number of older brothers is increased by adopted brothers or step brothers.

I don’t know what to think of it one way or other… and actually, for me, the most amazing part of the story was being introduced to the “in-utero maternal immune response.”  The folds within folds of complexity never cease to amaze.

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Posted: 08 April 2013 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 08 April 2013 09:22 AM

Jumping away from Epigenetics, but sticking with the theme…

Have you folks heard/read this one

Fraternal birth order and male sexual orientation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraternal_birth_order_and_male_sexual_orientation
~ ~ ~
Empirical basis

The fraternal birth order effect is the strongest known biodemographic predictor of sexual orientation.[3] According to several studies, each older brother increases a man’s odds of having a homosexual orientation by 28–48%.[4][5][6][7][8] The fraternal birth order effect accounts for approximately one seventh of the prevalence of homosexuality in men.[9] There seems to be no effect on sexual orientation in women, and no effect related to the number of older sisters.[10][11]
~ ~ ~

Theories on the cause

Anthony Bogaert’s work involving adoptees concludes that the effect is not due to being raised with older brothers, but is hypothesized to have something to do with changes induced in the mother’s body when gestating a boy that affects subsequent sons. An in-utero maternal immune response has been hypothesized for this effect.[6][16][20][21] The effect is present regardless of whether or not the older brothers are raised in the same family environment with the boy. There is no effect when the number of older brothers is increased by adopted brothers or step brothers.

I don’t know what to think of it one way or other… and actually, for me, the most amazing part of the story was being introduced to the “in-utero maternal immune response.”  The folds within folds of complexity never cease to amaze.

I heard about it some time ago and it makes sense to me. I think there is something in it and it deserves further investigation.

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Posted: 08 April 2013 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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macgyver - 08 April 2013 09:10 AM
George - 08 April 2013 06:44 AM

There are at least two types of epigenetics. One would be based on and programmed by the DNA, like the methylation, but these are usually reset in the offspring. The second would be changes introduced by the environment. These cannot be passed onto the next generations, as there is no evidence that Lamarckism (i.e., inheritance of acquired characteristics) works.

George read the mouse study in my post above. The traits referred to in the study are environmentally induced changes in the epigenome and they are indeed passed on to the next generation. Methylation can be induced by external stimuli.

After Darwin’s theories were accepted Lemark’s ideas were largely ridiculed. He deserved the criticism since his scientific methods were not scientific at all and his theories were mostly wrong , but sometimes you can come to the correct conclusion the wrong way. Epigenetics does not vindicate Lamark in any way ( The examples he used were not acquired characteristics or epigenetic phenomena) but it is showing us that in some ways acquired characteristics can be passed on to offspring for at least one or two generations and perhaps more. We still have a lot to learn about this phenomena though.

Yes, I know they can be passed onto the next generation, which is why I said they are “usually” reset in the offspring; although “usually” is not probably an adequate word here, as the chance of that happening is very rare and a few studies here and there prove very little. The problem here is that homosexuality is not that rare at all. `

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Posted: 08 April 2013 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Lois - 08 April 2013 11:05 AM
citizenschallenge.pm - 08 April 2013 09:22 AM

Jumping away from Epigenetics, but sticking with the theme…

Have you folks heard/read this one

Fraternal birth order and male sexual orientation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraternal_birth_order_and_male_sexual_orientation
~ ~ ~
Empirical basis

The fraternal birth order effect is the strongest known biodemographic predictor of sexual orientation.[3] According to several studies, each older brother increases a man’s odds of having a homosexual orientation by 28–48%.[4][5][6][7][8] The fraternal birth order effect accounts for approximately one seventh of the prevalence of homosexuality in men.[9] There seems to be no effect on sexual orientation in women, and no effect related to the number of older sisters.[10][11]
~ ~ ~

Theories on the cause

Anthony Bogaert’s work involving adoptees concludes that the effect is not due to being raised with older brothers, but is hypothesized to have something to do with changes induced in the mother’s body when gestating a boy that affects subsequent sons. An in-utero maternal immune response has been hypothesized for this effect.[6][16][20][21] The effect is present regardless of whether or not the older brothers are raised in the same family environment with the boy. There is no effect when the number of older brothers is increased by adopted brothers or step brothers.

I don’t know what to think of it one way or other… and actually, for me, the most amazing part of the story was being introduced to the “in-utero maternal immune response.”  The folds within folds of complexity never cease to amaze.

I heard about it some time ago and it makes sense to me. I think there is something in it and it deserves further investigation.

This is really interesting, I have a friend who has a histamine reaction to her pregnancies which became worse and more uncomfortable with each subsequent pregnancy. There didn’t appear to be a difference with the sex of the infant. I wonder what, if any, effect it will have on her last child, a son.

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Posted: 08 April 2013 04:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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asanta - 08 April 2013 03:13 PM
Lois - 08 April 2013 11:05 AM
citizenschallenge.pm - 08 April 2013 09:22 AM

Jumping away from Epigenetics, but sticking with the theme…

Have you folks heard/read this one

Fraternal birth order and male sexual orientation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraternal_birth_order_and_male_sexual_orientation
~ ~ ~
Empirical basis

The fraternal birth order effect is the strongest known biodemographic predictor of sexual orientation.[3] According to several studies, each older brother increases a man’s odds of having a homosexual orientation by 28–48%.[4][5][6][7][8] The fraternal birth order effect accounts for approximately one seventh of the prevalence of homosexuality in men.[9] There seems to be no effect on sexual orientation in women, and no effect related to the number of older sisters.[10][11]
~ ~ ~

Theories on the cause

Anthony Bogaert’s work involving adoptees concludes that the effect is not due to being raised with older brothers, but is hypothesized to have something to do with changes induced in the mother’s body when gestating a boy that affects subsequent sons. An in-utero maternal immune response has been hypothesized for this effect.[6][16][20][21] The effect is present regardless of whether or not the older brothers are raised in the same family environment with the boy. There is no effect when the number of older brothers is increased by adopted brothers or step brothers.

I don’t know what to think of it one way or other… and actually, for me, the most amazing part of the story was being introduced to the “in-utero maternal immune response.”  The folds within folds of complexity never cease to amaze.

I heard about it some time ago and it makes sense to me. I think there is something in it and it deserves further investigation.

This is really interesting, I have a friend who has a histamine reaction to her pregnancies which became worse and more uncomfortable with each subsequent pregnancy. There didn’t appear to be a difference with the sex of the infant. I wonder what, if any, effect it will have on her last child, a son.

Only time will tell.  It doesn’t happen in every case, though,or even in most cases.  It’s just that surveys show that a statistically significant number of gay men have older brothers.

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Posted: 08 April 2013 04:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Having a boy is not a healthy thing for the mother. It is well documented in birds, for example, that the higher the status of the female, the more likely she is to have a male offspring. And we can see it in humans as well. The sex ratio is 50/50, but the sex ration of the kids in the US government is 60% boys and 40% girls. Basically, the higher the socio-economic status of the woman (not the man!) within the group of people she knows, the more likely she is to have a boy. Having boy is expensive—expensive in regards to the mother’s health. Women who have boys are also more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases.

I would be interested to know what other impacts having older brothers has. Are the younger ones sicker? Do they end up making less money?

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Posted: 08 April 2013 06:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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George - 08 April 2013 04:58 PM

Having a boy is not a healthy thing for the mother. It is well documented in birds, for example, that the higher the status of the female, the more likely she is to have a male offspring. And we can see it in humans as well. The sex ratio is 50/50, but the sex ration of the kids in the US government is 60% boys and 40% girls. Basically, the higher the socio-economic status of the woman (not the man!) within the group of people she knows, the more likely she is to have a boy. Having boy is expensive—expensive in regards to the mother’s health. Women who have boys are also more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases.

I would be interested to know what other impacts having older brothers has. Are the younger ones sicker? Do they end up making less money?

George, other than a higher risk of preterm labor and gestational diabetes I haven’t seen anything indicating mothers who give birth to boys have higher rates of illness. i tried doing a search but couldn’t come up with anything. I’d be interested in reading about that if you have any links.

Also could you explain what you mean about the ratio of kids in the US government being 60% boys/ 40% girls? Are you talking about the children of government workers? If they were studying differences based on socioeconomic class, what are they comparing that group to? Government workers aren’t necessarily of a higher socioeconomic class. it depends on what sort of government workers you are referring to and who you are comparing them to. At any rate, a 60/40 ratio seems awfully high. I’d love to see the source of that data. It would be interesting to see exactly how the study was done and how they came to their conclusions.

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Posted: 08 April 2013 07:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Sorry, I wrote in a hurry. The ratio refers to the kids of people in the House and the Senate; I know they are mostly men, but to marry a successful man, you’re most likely to be a successful woman. I’ll look for the links tomorrow (same for the statistics on women suffering from autoimmune illnesses). As far as the socio-economic status goes, the correlation can be supposedly found when you compare women within a group of other women they know. Basically, we surround ourself by more or less hundred people and the more successful women tend to have on average more boys. There are some reasons why this makes evolutionary sense, but I am not going to go into it now.

The whole thing gets actually even more bizarre when we look at the behaviour of some birds (forgot which ones now). They found that when the female’s offspring is the “wrong” sex (i.e., incompatible with her status) she will penetrate the egg with its beak and kill it. How the bird knows the sex of the little one inside the egg is anybody’s guess. And if you get your speculation run wild, it makes you think if some miscarriages in humans can happen for the same reason. We men bring in the crutial chromosome, but we may not have the last word on what sex our kids will be.

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Posted: 08 April 2013 11:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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George - 08 April 2013 04:58 PM

Having a boy is not a healthy thing for the mother. It is well documented in birds, for example, that the higher the status of the female, the more likely she is to have a male offspring. And we can see it in humans as well. The sex ratio is 50/50, but the sex ration of the kids in the US government is 60% boys and 40% girls. Basically, the higher the socio-economic status of the woman (not the man!) within the group of people she knows, the more likely she is to have a boy. Having boy is expensive—expensive in regards to the mother’s health. Women who have boys are also more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases.

I would be interested to know what other impacts having older brothers has. Are the younger ones sicker? Do they end up making less money?

Making money and success is not so much a matter of brothers, but birth order.  First children and only children are usually the smartest in school and most successful in their careers.  Youngest children tend to be the most rebellious.  There’s a good book on birth order called Born to Rebel. It’s a few years old but the science has not been refuted.  It’s a fascinating book. 

I don’t know if anyone has done a study on the relative health of siblings.  That would be interesting too.

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Posted: 09 April 2013 04:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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As far as I know, the evidence to show that birth order can affect personality is not there. I have never read Born to Rebel, but Judith Rich Harris talked about the mistakes the author of that book committed (which I now forgot what those were—but can look it up if you’d like me to) in her book, “The Nurture Assumption.”

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Posted: 09 April 2013 08:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 08 April 2013 09:22 AM

Jumping away from Epigenetics, but sticking with the theme…

Have you folks heard/read this one

Fraternal birth order and male sexual orientation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraternal_birth_order_and_male_sexual_orientation
~ ~ ~
Empirical basis

The fraternal birth order effect is the strongest known biodemographic predictor of sexual orientation.[3] According to several studies, each older brother increases a man’s odds of having a homosexual orientation by 28–48%.[4][5][6][7][8] The fraternal birth order effect accounts for approximately one seventh of the prevalence of homosexuality in men.[9] There seems to be no effect on sexual orientation in women, and no effect related to the number of older sisters.[10][11]O
~ ~ ~

Theories on the cause

Anthony Bogaert’s work involving adoptees concludes that the effect is not due to being raised with older brothers, but is hypothesized to have something to do with changes induced in the mother’s body when gestating a boy that affects subsequent sons. An in-utero maternal immune response has been hypothesized for this effect.[6][16][20][21] The effect is present regardless of whether or not the older brothers are raised in the same family environment with the boy. There is no effect when the number of older brothers is increased by adopted brothers or step brothers.

I don’t know what to think of it one way or other… and actually, for me, the most amazing part of the story was being introduced to the “in-utero maternal immune response.”  The folds within folds of complexity never cease to amaze.


It makes sense to me that gestating sons changes something in a mother, perhaps an immune response or a change in her own hormones as a result of gestating males, which affects later sons. Statistics show that the number of males who are gay is greater among those with older brothers. Orientation could have an additional explanation, but older brothers obviously have an influence.

I know of a couple who had one daughter and one son, both of whom are gay.  It would be interesting to know what might have triggered that unusual circumstance. As far as I can tell they both had ordinary upbringings with good relationships with both of their parents. Both are psychologically stable and successful.  In this case, there were no older sons, so there must have been other factors involved for the male. I think it may be a different mechanism that affects boys’ and girls’ orientation. Certainly worth looking into.

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Posted: 09 April 2013 09:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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We can theorize about the causes of a particular correlation all day but it may not be a good use of time unless we have evidence that the correlation exists and better yet that there is some evidence beyond correlation for actual causation ( ie. is there evidence that giving birth to sons actual causes health problems for the mother). So far in this thread no one has posted anything remotely resembling evidence to support that claim.

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Posted: 09 April 2013 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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George - 09 April 2013 04:39 AM

As far as I know, the evidence to show that birth order can affect personality is not there. I have never read Born to Rebel, but Judith Rich Harris talked about the mistakes the author of that book committed (which I now forgot what those were—but can look it up if you’d like me to) in her book, “The Nurture Assumption.”

I’ll take a look, but there is plenty of evidence that birth order is a factor in people’s personalities and intellectual abilities.  As one instance,the incoming class at Harvard was surveyed for birth order. 3/4 of the class were first borns. There has to be a link.  I have seen it in my own family and in the families of my friends and acquaintances, too.  The first born is almost always the brightest one.  There is one other point to be noted.  If there are five years between a child and his next oldest sibling, he or she often has the characteristics of a first born.  I have seen this in many families, including my own.  I have an actual first born and a third child who was born 5 years after the second.  Both are more motivated and successful than their two siblings, the second and fourth, though they are not slouches, either. It’s only one family, so its not scientific, but I think that this example and the Harvard survey are indications that first borns generally have higher IQs and are more motivated to succeed than later children.

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