Scientists have come up with a way to turn ‘straight’ rats ‘gay’ by using happy-making chemicals.
A group of researchers in Mexico have been working for four years to come up with the best way of making rats gay with their experiments.
Using mind-altering drugs, they stimulated the male rats’ brains to make them feel good when they were put together.
They also covered the rats with almond oil which they had made them associate with sex.
The result was that male rats whose brain chemistry they had played with using feel-good chemicals started to associate gay rat sex with pleasure.
And then when the drugs were taken away, they would prefer only having sex with another male rat than with a female rat.
The researchers say they were successful in ‘turning’ rats gay as they showed same-sex behavior for days and even weeks after the last injection of drugs.
‘The results indicate that putative heterosexual adult male rats can readily develop a conditioned same-sex socio/sexual partner preference by cohabiting with another male under the effects of [these chemicals],’ they concluded.
The study, however, is flawed in two ways.
First, the ethics of using animals in research to achieve this sort of result of highly questionable. Some rats already engage in same-sex behavior, so it is arguably unnecessary.
And second, while it’s true rats do share most of our DNA, they are obviously not the same as humans.
It would be highly illegal and even less ethical to play with human brains in the same way, meaning this test has no immediate relevance to our own sexuality.
The study was published in this month’s Behavioral Brain Research.