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Wendy Choi
Mr. Cook
IB Biology (Period 3)
7 Nov 2008

Research Article – Evolution

Subjects: Homosexuality, Gays & lesbians, Siblings, Gender, Evolution, Sexual behavior, Social
research
Author(s): Anonymous
Publication title: The Economist. London: Oct 25, 2008. Vol. 389, Iss. 8603
ISSN: 00130613
Text Word Count 922

1. What is the purpose of the work?


The writer proposes an idea from an article to be published soon in Evolution and Human
Behavior, in which Brendan Zietsch of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in
Brisbane, Australia, and his colleagues suggests that genes which cause men to be more
feminine in appearance, outlook and behavior and those that make women more masculine in
those attributes, confer reproductive advantages as long as they do not push the individual
possessing them all the way to homosexuality. “Studies of identical twins, for example, show
that if one of a pair (regardless of sex) is homosexual, the other has a 50% chance of being so,
too. That observation, though, raises a worrying evolutionary question: how could a trait so at
odds with reproductive success survive the ruthless imperatives of natural selection?” as
written in the article.

2. What did the writer learn?


He learned that these all leads to the concept that the relatives of those who are homosexual
benefit from genes that predispose people to homosexual behavior so they may be guaranteed
inheritance. According to the article, the researcher Zietsch believes that hormonal genes—
which cause men to be more feminine in appearance, outlook and behavior or cause women to
be more masculine in those attribute— grant them reproductive advantages as long as they do
not push the individual possessing these genes to the path of homosexuality in what he refers
to as “The straight truth.” Finally, the anonymous writer learns that “genes explain 27% of an
individual's gender identity and 59% of the variation in the number of sexual partners that
people have…the genetic component of sexual orientation and came up with a figure of 47%,”
thus proving the genes does have a role in homosexuality.

3. Make some personal observations. Was this research worthwhile? Did it add significantly to
our knowledge of the subject? What relationship does it have to what we are learning?
This research is worthwhile in terms of social science because I have always believed that
homosexual beings are affected by their negative childhood or some type of “shadow” casted
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over their life by somebody they really cared for. However, many unapproved studies have
always shown that homosexuality is an inborn trait that one has no control from. It was hard
for me to believe the relationship between genes and homosexuality until I read this article,
which explains clearly how these two factors are related so I learned that homosexuals are not
“weird” as most people have perceived but they are just a result of a less common trait. We
have been learning about evolution in class for a few weeks already and obviously, evolution
and natural selection throughout history have not eliminated the extreme minority of
homosexuals and instead, it seems to have increased throughout the year as the law and people
became more open-minded to homosexuality.