Letter: Geneticists' goal is to cure, not tyrannise

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The Independent Online
I DON'T wish to worry Richard Dawkins and all your butch, heterosexual male readers too much, but . . .

My maternal grandmother has been responsible for the production of 35 children. She herself had six girls, who produced the other 29 children of which there are 18 boys and 11 girls. One of the said 18 is incontrovertibly gay.

This gives rise to the intriguing question of how many of the other 17 may have that propensity. 'Ah,' you may cry, 'they are all married with children, so they're OK.' But the gay one has also been married and produced two children. Under the present hypothesis the gene will die out at this point because it is carried through the female line.

I have, of course, only presented a microcosm of the familial possibilities. I have a gay cousin, who has also been married and produced children, related to the gay in my immediate family through the male line. Therefore his homosexual gene was inherited from a totally different lot of females. Interestingly, our joint grandmother, on my paternal and his maternal line, produced 13 children, many of them girls and all prolific breeders.

I have not taken the trouble to ask any of my relatives embarrassing questions, nor have I taken steps to have them gened, if I may so put it. My conclusion is, though, that there is probably a lot of it about and many people are probably keeping mum.

Name and address supplied