Feeds

Scientists look to straighten homosexual sheep

Gay rights campaigners slam US research

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Former Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova has come out in favour of the rights of homosexual sheep in a burgeoning row over tests carried out by two US universities aimed at "curing" ovine friends of Dorothy.

According to The Times, researchers at Oregon State University in the city of Corvallis and at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland were able to "pinpoint the mechanisms influencing the desires of 'male-oriented' rams by studying their brains".

Specifically, they cut open the offending sheeps' skulls, attached electonic sensors to their grey matter and monitored them while "varying the hormone levels, mainly by injecting hormones into the brain". They reported "considerable success" in getting previously gay rams to consider a bit of boy-on-girl.

The purpose behind these experiments is to "improve the productivity of herds" since "approximately one ram in 10 prefers to mount other rams rather than mate with ewes". The implications are far more sinister, opponents claim, since the acquired knowledge could in the future be used to "cure" human homosexuality, or may offer the prospect that "pregnant women could one day be offered a [hormone] treatment to reduce or eliminate the chance that their offspring will be homosexual".

Ms Navratilova weighed in with: "How can it be that in the year 2006 a major university would host such homophobic and cruel experiments?"

UK gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell declared: "These experiments echo Nazi research in the early 1940s which aimed at eradicating homosexuality. They stink of eugenics. There is a danger that extreme homophobic regimes may try to use these experimental results to change the orientation of gay people."

Udo Schuklenk, Professor of Bioethics at Glasgow Caledonian University, who has "written to the researchers pressing them to stop", added: "I don't believe the motives of the study are homophobic, but their work brings the terrible possibility of exploitation by homophobic societies. Imagine this technology in the hands of Iran, for example. It is typical of the US to ignore the global context in which this is taking place."

Professor Charles Roselli, the Health and Science University biologist heading the research programme, defended his work with: "In general, sexuality has been under-studied because of political concerns. People don't want science looking into what determines sexuality."

Michael Bailey, a neurology professor at Northwestern University near Chicago, risked the wrath of the gay community by stating: "Allowing parents to select their children’s sexual orientation would further a parent's freedom to raise the sort of children they want to raise."

As for the unfortunate gay rams subjected to the research teams' uninvited attentions, it remained for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to slam their sufferings as "a needless slaughter of animals, an affront to human dignity and a colossal waste of precious research funds". ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
Another step forward for diamond-based quantum computers
Square cut or pear-shaped, these qubits don't lose their shape
LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms
Is that an ARMADILLO in your PANTS or are you just pleased to see me?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.