Last updated on: 2/27/2008 | Author: ProCon.org

Erik Jorgensen, PhD Biography

Title:
Scientific Director at the University of Utah Brain Institute
Position:
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Is Sexual Orientation Determined at Birth?"
Reasoning:

“The reason males and females behave differently is that the same nerve cells have been rewired to alter sexual preference. Our conclusions are narrow in that they are about worms and how attraction behaviors are derived from the same brain circuit. But an evolutionary biologist will consider this to be a potentially common mechanism for sexual attraction.

We cannot say what this means for human sexual orientation, but it raises the possibility that sexual preference is wired in the brain. Humans are subject to evolutionary forces just like worms. It seems possible that if sexual orientation is genetically wired in worms, it would be in people too. Humans have free will, so the picture is more complicated in people.”

“The Sensory Circuitry for Sexual Attraction in C. elegans Males,” Current Biology, Nov. 6, 2007

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Scientific Director, University of Utah Brain Institute
  • Professor of Biology, University of Utah, 1994-present
  • Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2005-present
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Recipient, Jacob Javits Award from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Recipient, Damon Runyon Award from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
Education:
  • PhD, Genetics, University of Washington
  • BS, Animal Resources, University of California, Berkeley
Other:
  • None found