Science: Sperm, Homosexuality and Primordial Soup

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Science: Sperm, Homosexuality and Primordial Soup

Everything your textbooks have taught you is a lie.

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That fa'afafine thing is pretty interesting. I've always wondered about the point of sexual preference and homosexuality in general when the subconscious goal of our species is to procreate and pass on our genes. Also, I didn't know that about sperm either and would never have bothered finding out. Thanks Lauren!

Looks like plants are set to conquer the world O.O

Hooray new discovery for sperm

The "kin selection hypothesis" doesn't explain very well how the gene is passed on. I suppose they explain this with the possibility that their kin may have a recessive copy of the same gene? Still... doesn't seem like a complete explanation to me.

Lauren Admire:
Lauren Admire wonders how the primordial soup tasted.

There are so many ways to get into trouble responding to this. : )

It's a biological grand-slam!

I think that someone also discovered that sperm are attracted to the scent of lavendar oil, it was one of those interesting moments on QI. As for primordial soup, I just wonder what the croutons were made of.

please don't use sperm and soup in the same sentence....

Actually, my Biology textbook covers both of the theories about how life on Earth started: the primordial soup one and the hydrothermal vents one. But, overall, informative article as usual. I've heard about the quantum mechanics in plants thing before, but she explained how it worked very well here.

Interesting read. I've also realised how awesome the name 'Admire' is. What a name.

SharedProphet:
The "kin selection hypothesis" doesn't explain very well how the gene is passed on. I suppose they explain this with the possibility that their kin may have a recessive copy of the same gene? Still... doesn't seem like a complete explanation to me.

Lauren Admire:
Lauren Admire wonders how the primordial soup tasted.

There are so many ways to get into trouble responding to this. : )

Sorry for the confusion! Because they share a certain amount of genes with their nieces or nephews, by helping with their growth and development, they vicariously ensure at least a portion of their own genes prospering.

TheSeventhLoneWolf:
Interesting read. I've also realised how awesome the name 'Admire' is. What a name.

I didn't start enjoying it until well after high school. Before that, just...too many awful jokes. :D

Lauren Admire:

TheSeventhLoneWolf:
Interesting read. I've also realised how awesome the name 'Admire' is. What a name.

I didn't start enjoying it until well after high school. Before that, just...too many awful jokes. :D

All I can think of is random jokes that turn out wrong and make them sound like they're admiring you. Which makes me giggle.

About the Kind Selection thing, I think I read somewhere last year about scientist who discovered a link between genes thought to be responsible for male homosexuality and their functionality in females. It went along something like that if a male has those genes they are gay, if a woman has them they are more sexually active and generally have more children, thus the level of reproduction is actually increased and male homosexuality is a side effect.

edit: found it http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0002282

Though personally I think that both views are rather simplistic, it could be a mixture of both, neither and something totally different, we just don't know enough about human sexuality works in relation to our genetic make up yet.

I wish my biology books had atleast lied to me about this kind of interesting stuff, all i remember is being shouted at for forgetting the chemical composition of amino acids and trying to recite the 20 something parts of a cell, fun times.

But yeh its not shocking that some stuff that was taken as fact is fiction i mean at one point we thought the sun revolved around a flat earth, i imagen in the future people will laugh at there stuff ancestors who tried to discover a magical "Hig's Boson" or as it was refered to in those days "the god particle"

Jaredin:
Looks like plants are set to conquer the world O.O

Look around you, they are everywhere.. already. Even in your home, in your meals. YOu wear some too.

All hail our green gods!

On topic- Interesting article, we just have to wait and see if scientists can make something out of this. Maybe some green pills so we can function like the Orks in WH40k.

Well, it is interesting.....but what the hell is the point about learning where we came from? why not concentrate on the Future, which could actually affect us in a significant way. My question is if homosexuality is a gene that what about Bisexuals? or asexuals? or pansexuals? I say leave the topic of homosexuality out of science because if it doesn't hurt you or anyone else in anyway, does it really matter?

Lauren: Chicken. Tastes like chicken.

Plants know how to use quantum physics? Well hot diggity, instead of metal ships to travel faster than lightspeed, we might create giant plant space ships for it! Using the power of the sun to kick to the stars.

Thanks for the update Lauren! I never knew plants were quantum objects, in a sense. And I aught to sue superpositioning or whatever in my soon-o-be-realised Sci Fi RP.

Demonraiser:
Well, it is interesting.....but what the hell is the point about learning where we came from? why not concentrate on the Future, which could actually affect us in a significant way.

Agh, don't say that! Unfortunately that's the mind set of a lot of biology professors and researchers; the majority of them don't really care how organic materials first formed on Earth. They just start off with the assumption and continue with the RNA-world hypothesis.

Don't you find it interesting? If we know how life started on Earth we'd be better able to predict which kinds of planets to expect extra-terrestrial life. Unlike sci-fi shows we can't just whip up a "Life Signs Detector" and see life from spaceships.

Furthermore, knowing how life started on Earth would allow us to replicate the "Experiment" and create new life of our own. We'd be able to add our own selection pressures, and who knows, we could be creating new species!

Huh, that's really interesting about the plants. I've never gotten into physics much (boo abstract math) but the overall concepts and theories of quantum physics fascinate me.

I didn't quite get it - so the light just splits there? Or does it somehow create another beam which goes in the other direction o.o

As far as I remember from our cell biology course - there was only one beam. Interesting)

Serisously, you'd have to get paid alot to wanna research sperm.

SharedProphet:

Lauren Admire:
Lauren Admire wonders how the primordial soup tasted.

There are so many ways to get into trouble responding to this. : )

Especially it's right under the part about sperm.

...yeah, not going there.

On-topic, it'd be pretty awesome if they figured out how exactly plants do their quantum-trick, and ever more awesome if we had a way to replicate it. After all, today's solar cells might be a nice source of 'green' energy, but if you compare the amount of solar energy going in and the amount of electricity coming out, they're really inefficient. A 95% efficiency would give the usability of solar energy a huge boost.

Great article. Proton gradients and Quantum Mechanics in one place; excellent.

Excellent article, I didn't know that about the plants, it's odd how much they use quantum physics - I think they also use quantum tunneling somewhere in photosynthesis.

Visulth:

Demonraiser:
Well, it is interesting.....but what the hell is the point about learning where we came from? why not concentrate on the Future, which could actually affect us in a significant way.

Agh, don't say that! Unfortunately that's the mind set of a lot of biology professors and researchers; the majority of them don't really care how organic materials first formed on Earth. They just start off with the assumption and continue with the RNA-world hypothesis.

Don't you find it interesting? If we know how life started on Earth we'd be better able to predict which kinds of planets to expect extra-terrestrial life. Unlike sci-fi shows we can't just whip up a "Life Signs Detector" and see life from spaceships.

Furthermore, knowing how life started on Earth would allow us to replicate the "Experiment" and create new life of our own. We'd be able to add our own selection pressures, and who knows, we could be creating new species!

Well, I'm not so certain that replicating the "Experiment" and creating new species would be a good idea. It's dangerous to tamper with things beyond our understanding. Even if we figure out how life started on Earth, we'd still be a long way from understanding life completely.

Nevertheless, I agree that figuring out how life started can only benefit us. How can we understand ourselves if we don't know how we began. Ideally, science is suppose to work from the ground up. You don't start with the results you want and work your way back. Until we figure out how life got started, scientific fields like biology will be working on assumptions which could lead to serious errors.

Visulth:

Demonraiser:
Well, it is interesting.....but what the hell is the point about learning where we came from? why not concentrate on the Future, which could actually affect us in a significant way.

Agh, don't say that! Unfortunately that's the mind set of a lot of biology professors and researchers; the majority of them don't really care how organic materials first formed on Earth. They just start off with the assumption and continue with the RNA-world hypothesis.

Don't you find it interesting? If we know how life started on Earth we'd be better able to predict which kinds of planets to expect extra-terrestrial life. Unlike sci-fi shows we can't just whip up a "Life Signs Detector" and see life from spaceships.

Furthermore, knowing how life started on Earth would allow us to replicate the "Experiment" and create new life of our own. We'd be able to add our own selection pressures, and who knows, we could be creating new species!

We don't even have to be searching for life as we know it. There's an entire subset of "extremophile" species; one of which uses a special type of photosynthesis. Link

f0re1gn:
I didn't quite get it - so the light just splits there? Or does it somehow create another beam which goes in the other direction o.o

As far as I remember from our cell biology course - there was only one beam. Interesting)

It doesn't split, it takes both paths. Simultaneously. I know it doesn't make sense, but that's quantum mechanics for you.

Squaseghost:

f0re1gn:
I didn't quite get it - so the light just splits there? Or does it somehow create another beam which goes in the other direction o.o

As far as I remember from our cell biology course - there was only one beam. Interesting)

It doesn't split, it takes both paths. Simultaneously. I know it doesn't make sense, but that's quantum mechanics for you.

Ah, I forgot they mentioned superpositions in there. The same way Schrodinger's cat works, the energy is in two positions at the same time (until we find out, where exactly - according to Schrodinger's theory)

The 'kin selection' theory of homosexuality was always a form of far too special pleading for me. I happen to like the chimeric theory:

http://www.welmer.org/2008/07/14/the-chimera-hypothesis-homosexuality-and-plural-pregnancy/

This one handily explains homosexuality, its variants, its differing expression in man and woman, and why it remains impervious to evolution-because it's NOT 'genetic' so much as what happens when a man's female twin gets genetically absorbed into the developing brain. This absorption, of course, happens all the time:

http://multiples.about.com/cs/medicalissues/a/vanishingtwin.htm

I'm guessing, however, that it's not as scientifically 'sexy' because it involves the unspoken assumption of: 'You're gay? KILL THE GAY GUY HE ATE HIS SISTER IN THE WOMB!!!'

However, since it both jibes with twin studies and handily explains why it would be evolutionarily selected for (i.e., a woman who has more twins is more evolutionarily successful, but more likely to have gay children occasionally,) I submit it whenever I hear about this silly photogenic family-and-marketing-friendly 'kin selection' business. Truths are usually ugly, harsh and disturbing, thank you very much.

RE: fa'afafine survey experiment

Transexuality and homosexuality are quite different. The fa'afafine are transexual, men who identify at a young age as feminine. Furthermore, the fact that the fa'afafine are a cultural phenomenon with lots of cultural and societal behaviors attached to them. So I find the research and conclusions spurious at best.

Why not just survey gay men and women? We make up between 2-6% of the human population depending on what survey you believe. The rates are pretty constant across all societal, cultural, and geographic lines. You don't have to go to the jungles of an Asian country to survey homosexuals in their 'natural habitat'. You can just do a wide survey with a large sample size across the globe which will factor out any variation for cultural or societal factors to see if there's anything else in common with the way gay people are wired other than their sexual orientation -- my guess: no more so than people with black skin color or blonde hair.

Epoetker:
The 'kin selection' theory of homosexuality was always a form of far too special pleading for me. I happen to like the chimeric theory:

http://www.welmer.org/2008/07/14/the-chimera-hypothesis-homosexuality-and-plural-pregnancy/

This one handily explains homosexuality, its variants, its differing expression in man and woman, and why it remains impervious to evolution-because it's NOT 'genetic' so much as what happens when a man's female twin gets genetically absorbed into the developing brain. This absorption, of course, happens all the time:

Haven't heard of that Chimerism theory before, pretty interesting.

It seems a little odd but I think he's closer to the right answer than most mainstream theories.

The mainstream concept is either genetics or environment. Environmental explinations have never made sense to me, the rate of homosexuality is remarkably constant across the world. Whether it's punnishible by death or a liberal sexually free society the difference in people who identify as gay doesn't vary a ton. Genetics is also a pretty poor explination because of the obvious natural selection angle.

I think it has a lot more to do with how the human gets constructed in the womb. Something happens when the brain is getting created and a wire gets crossed in the process. You can't change the way a brain is wired and there you go.

Whispering Death:
RE: fa'afafine survey experiment

Transexuality and homosexuality are quite different. The fa'afafine are transexual, men who identify at a young age as feminine. Furthermore, the fact that the fa'afafine are a cultural phenomenon with lots of cultural and societal behaviors attached to them. So I find the research and conclusions spurious at best.

Why not just survey gay men and women? We make up between 2-6% of the human population depending on what survey you believe. The rates are pretty constant across all societal, cultural, and geographic lines. You don't have to go to the jungles of an Asian country to survey homosexuals in their 'natural habitat'. You can just do a wide survey with a large sample size across the globe which will factor out any variation for cultural or societal factors to see if there's anything else in common with the way gay people are wired other than their sexual orientation -- my guess: no more so than people with black skin color or blonde hair.

They actually bring up why they focused on Samoan fa'afafine in the study - Samoan families are very tight-knit and have extended families, whereas Western families tend to be more individualistic and homophobic. For a study focused on kin selection, they would naturally have more data/open mindedness in Samoa, but at the same time, it's hard to extend the study results to a broad selection of homosexual behavior.

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