Modelling the effects of memetic taboos on genetic homosexuality

Gatherer, Derek (2000) Modelling the effects of memetic taboos on genetic homosexuality. Journal of Memetics, 4 (2). pp. 22-40. ISSN 1366-4786

Full text not available from this repository.


Simple computer simulations of the interaction of genetic factors and memetic taboos in human homosexuality, are presented. These simulations clearly show that taboos can be important factors in the incidence of homosexuality under conditions of evolutionary equilibrium, for example states produced by heterozygote advantage. However, frequency-dependent taboos, i.e. taboos that are inversely proportional to the incidence of homosexuality, cannot produce the oscillating effect on gene frequencies predicted by Lynch (1999). Effective oscillation is only produced by rapid withdrawal and re-imposition of taboos in a non-frequency-dependent manner, and only under conditions where the equilibrium incidence of homosexuality is maintained by heterozygote advantage, or other positive selectional mechanism. Withdrawal and re-imposition of taboo under conditions where homosexuality is subject to negative selection pressure, produce only feeble pulses, and actually assist in the extinction of the trait from the population. Additionally it is shown that frequency-dependent taboos assist in a more rapid achievement of equilibrium levels, without oscillation, under conditions of heterozygote advantage. An attempt is made to relate the simulations to past and contemporary social conditions, concluding that it is impossible to decide which model best applies without accurate determination of realistic values for the parameters in the models. Some suggestions for empirical work of this sort are made.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Memetics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
22 Jun 2019 08:53
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 02:26