×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Separate Creation: The Search for the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation
     

Separate Creation: The Search for the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation

by Chandler Burr
 

See All Formats & Editions

An investigation of the biological origins of sexual orientation examines the latest breakthroughs in the fields of neurobiology, endocrinology, and genetics.

Overview

An investigation of the biological origins of sexual orientation examines the latest breakthroughs in the fields of neurobiology, endocrinology, and genetics.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Burr's detailed, elegantly written report takes us to the front lines of research into a possible biological or genetic basis for homosexuality. He dispassionately reviews the scientific and political controversy surrounding the report in 1991 by gay British neuroanatomist Simon LeVay that a cluster of cells in the brain's hypothalamus is larger in straight men than in gay men. National Cancer Institute molecular geneticist Dean Hamer's 1993 finding that a specific region of the X chromosome is linked to homosexuality in some men led to intense debate over how a "gay gene" might function in creating a homosexual orientation. Boston University geneticist Richard Pillard theorizes that the sexual centers of gay men's brains are not "defeminized"a hormone-regulated process that routinely occurs in the embryonic brains of male heterosexuals. Burr, whose 1993 cover story in the Atlantic Monthly led to this book, ponders the ethical issues swirling around Affymetrix, a Santa Clara, Calif., company that is building a semiconductor chip made of silicon and human DNA that may make possible widespread testing for a gay gene. Illustrated. Author tour. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
A thorough, often riveting review of research on homosexuality and male-female differences.

"Amid the chaos of debate is the virtual certainty that the biological origins of sexual orientation will become known to us," writes journalist Burr, who penned a controversial 1993 article on the subject for the Atlantic Monthly. He has to be congratulated for providing a fine summary and preview of what is politically one of the hottest topics today. He does it by stressing the science, by using lengthy quotes from the investigators, and by asking questions that go beyond the disputes and data to tap the attitudes and philosophies of the scientists themselves. The recent furor dates to 1993, when National Cancer Institute investigator Dean Hamer reported that sexual orientation was at least in part due to maternal inheritance of a gene located on the X chromosome. But Burr and his corps of experts underscore that genes are not destiny and exhort all to bury forever the nature/nurture dichotomy. The X locus Hamer has found is a part of the biological picture, and to explore it, Burr treats the reader to a primer on fetal development, the role of androgens and estrogens in creating males from the "default" female pattern, and the influence of hormones on the brain. His concluding chapters touch on the heart of the political/social/ethical dilemmas—the guarantee that there will be not only tests for the sex-orientation gene (or genes) but micro- gene-chips that will tell you what could be in store for your potential offspring—with all the Brave New World scenarios that engenders. Burr ends with a brief commentary on the conflict between science and religion and the peculiar irony of the current debate, which finds conservatives plumping for homosexuality as an immoral "lifestyle choice" while liberals may say it's all in the genes.

By this time the savvy reader—thanks to Burr's excellent exposition—can say, A pox on both their houses.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786882403
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
06/28/1997
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 8.87(h) x 0.87(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews