DAEJON, South Korea -- It turns out that by simply disabling one gene in female mice can turn them into lesbians.
Professor Chankyu Park and his team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejon, South Korea disabled the fucose mutarotase (FucM) gene, which made female mice refuse to mate with males, and caused the females to only want to mate with other females.
The altered mice proved to be healthy and behaved normally towards young mice, yet when approached by a male refused to be sexually receptive.
The altered female mice wouldn’t assume the “lordosis” position and also seemed to lose interest in investigating male urine.
The altered female mice tried to mount other females and seemed to behave as if they were male.
Park told Sify News, “We speculate that these behavioral changes are likely to be related to a neurodevelopmental change in pre-optic area of the female mutant brain, becoming similar to that of a normal male.”
The FucM gene influences the levels of hormones that the brain is exposed to. Disabling this gene simply caused the altered female mice to behave as if they were male and develop a sexual attraction to other females.
Park and his team reported that hormones don’t have the same affect on people as they do on mice and they are not sure if this study is relevant to human sexuality.
While Park wants to study whether an enzyme produced by the FucM gene influences sexuality, he admits that it may be difficult to find human volunteers.
Professor Park’s study was published in BMC Genetics journal.