1st Edition

Nature's Choice
What Science Reveals About the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation

ISBN 9780789034755
Published August 12, 2008 by Routledge
258 Pages

USD $54.95

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Book Description

The true role of biology in determining sexual orientation is an oft-debated issue in both the popular media and scientific communities, and evaluating the literature on the topic can be daunting. Nature’s Choice: What Science Reveals About the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation offers both a comprehensive review of the scientific literature and a fresh perspective on this complex and politically charged subject. Respected researcher, speaker, and author Dr. Cheryl Weill offers readers of all backgrounds an enlightening analysis of findings from over twenty years of research on the factor of biology in the determination of sexual orientation.

Nature’s Choice: What Science Reveals About the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation brilliantly distills complicated studies and research findings dealing with brain anatomy, genetics, sex-typical behavior in children, auditory, startle reflex, and many other areas. Spanning a wide range of important topics including human sexual development and the effects of hormones, Ellis and Ames’ Gestational Neurohormonal Theory, the ins, outs, and implications of how scientific research is funded, and model of the role of testosterone in determining human sexuality, Nature’s Choice: What Science Reveals About the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation is an exciting book to educate and inspire readers from scientific and non-scientific backgrounds equally.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
  • Chapter 2. Definitions
  • Homosexuality is Not a Mental Disorder or Disease
  • Gender Characterization
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Two Myths
  • Summary
  • Chapter 3. Human Sexual Development
  • Morphological Development
  • Neurological Development
  • Summary
  • Chapter 4. Hormones and Sexual Development
  • Gonadal Hormones and How They Work
  • Studies of Normal Animals
  • Animal Experiments
  • Nature’s Human Experiments
  • Summary
  • Chapter 5. Gestational Neurohormonal Theory
  • Neuro-Organization
  • Sex-Typical Behavior
  • Deductions
  • Summary
  • Chapter 6. Science
  • What is Science?
  • Experimental Design
  • What Science Can Tell Us
  • Science in the United States
  • Summary
  • Chapter 7. Genetics
  • Family Studies
  • Twin Studies
  • Genetic Linkage Analysis
  • Specific Genes
  • Summary
  • Chapter 8. Brain Anatomy
  • Sex-Specific Behavior Patterns
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus
  • The Anterior Hypothalamus
  • The Anterior Commissure
  • Summary
  • Chapter 9. Sex-Typical Behavior in Children
  • Summary
  • Chapter 10. Anthropometrics: Body Measurements
  • Long Bones
  • Finger Length Ratio
  • Dermatoglypics: Fingerprint Analysis
  • Height and Weight
  • Waist to Hip Ratio in Women
  • Penis Size
  • Onset of Puberty
  • Summary
  • Chapter 11. Sensory Systems
  • Hearing
  • Eye-Blink Startle Reflex
  • Smelling
  • Summary
  • Chapter 12. Cerebral Lateralization
  • Handedness
  • Cognitive Functions
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Summary
  • Chapter 13. Gay Men and Older Brothers
  • The Fraternal Birth Order Effect
  • Maternal Immune Hypothesis
  • Older Brothers and Other Characteristics
  • Summary
  • Chapter 14. Maternal Behaviors
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine
  • Hormones
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Summary
  • Chapter 15. Conclusions
  • Summary of Positive and Null Effects
  • Chapter 16. The Use of Science
  • Chapter 17. Epilogue
  • Appendix
  • Glossary
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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Dr. Cheryl L. Weill received a B.S. degree from the College of Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley in 1969 and a Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1974. After additional training in molecular neuroscience at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratories, and Harvard Medical School she embarked on an independent research and teaching career in the Departments of Neurology and Anatomy and the Neuroscience Center at Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation and concerned the survival of neurons during development, and the identification of the genes and the molecular signals used by neurons for their survival.

In 1993, she presented a lecture on the biology of sexual orientation at the PFLAG National Convention and has presented updated material upon which Nature's Choice is based forty-six times to PFLAG chapters, medical school classes, continuing education classes, graduate school classes, churches, social worker and other organizations. She retired from academic science in 1999, obtaineed a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Denver in 2001, is licensed as an LSW and is in private clinical practice in Denver, CO.